Abbott takes back his 2nd Nazi comparison

2015-03-19 18:41
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. (Mark Graham, AFP)

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. (Mark Graham, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Canberra - Australia's gaffe-prone prime minister took back his second Nazi-related comment in a month on Thursday after he compared the opposition party leader to German World War II-era propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

Tony Abbott told Parliament that Labour Party leader Bill Shorten was "the Dr Goebbels of economic policy."

Abbott immediately said he withdrew the comment, as opposition lawmakers yelled in protest.

Speaker Bronwyn Bishop ordered Labour lawmaker Mark Dreyfus, one of only three Jewish lawmakers in Parliament out of the House of Representatives for rising from his seat to angrily berate the prime minister.

Fellow Labour lawmaker Michael Danby, also Jewish, left the chamber with Dreyfus in solidarity.

"There are no Nazis here and we shouldn't be making comparisons with the paradigm of the ultimate evil in politics to heighten political differences," Danby told The Associated Press later.

"It's beneath him, and it goes to the question of his judgment. I think a lot of his backbench will be groaning and tearing their hair out," Danby added.

Dreyfus later described the Nazi reference as inappropriate for a prime minister.

Abbott last month apologised to Parliament for describing a 10% reduction in defence industry jobs under a former Labour government as a "holocaust of jobs".

St Patrick's Day

Peter Wertheim, executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, an organisation representing Jewish community organisations, declined to comment on Thursday because of his council's apolitical stance.

But he referred AP to the council's longstanding policy statement that it: "Deplores the inappropriate use of analogies to the Nazi genocide in Australian public debate."

Abbott received an unexpected rebuke from the Irish prime minister this week for a St Patrick's Day video message broadcast online by his Liberal Party.

Wearing a green tie, Abbott apologised to Ireland because: "I can't be there to share a Guinness or two or maybe even three."

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny told the Irish Independent newspaper he had seen Abbott's comments and did not agree with them. Kenny told the newspaper he advocated responsible celebrations and rejected "a stage Irish perception".

Some of Abbott's government colleagues openly questioned his political judgment in January when he announced on Australia's national day that he had granted Queen Elizabeth II's husband Prince Philip an Australian knighthood.

The disquiet helped trigger a challenge to his leadership within the ruling Liberal Party. While he survived a no-confidence ballot, his leadership is vulnerable while he remains unpopular in opinion polls.

Read more on:    tony abbott  |  australia  |  nazis

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.