Shame on you, Prime Minister. For doing this – again.
Today, the Prime Minister called Opposition Leader Bill Shorten the “Dr Goebbels of economic policy”.
As the Labor Opposition leapt to their feet, Tony Abbott raised his hands as if being attacked and withdrew his comments.
In a spectacular misreading of the offense that had been caused, the Speaker Bronwyn Bishop ejected the shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus MP, who is Jewish. Michael Danby MP, who is also Jewish left the chamber in disgust.
Joseph Goebbels was the Minister for Propaganda for Nazi Germany. He is known for his deep and abiding hatred of the Jewish people and his orations in support of their widespread massacre. He is responsible for the burning of books in Berlin. Many of the most heinous acts of Hitler’s regime were perpetrated with the oversight of Joseph Goebbels.
Goebbels is in every sense an abhorrent human being. To try and score a casual political point by using his name is ridiculous, offensive and extremely insensitive.
Michael Danby MP said tonight, “[Tony Abbott] can slag us as much as he likes, but it is demeaning to him and the Parliament to use an example of the ultimate evil in politics”.
“He’s the Prime Minister – he is supposed to have high standards,” he said.
See the appalling exchange here (post continues after the video)
Now we guess that Mr Abbott’s reference could be written off as a mistake. He might have misspoken (if we think that people can accidentally make reference to Nazi leaders).
But let’s remember that this comes just one month after he said in Parliament that the previous Labor government had caused a “Holocaust of jobs” in the defence sector.
It seems like a point that shouldn’t need to be made, but, regardless of your political persuasion or the context:
1. Just because you don’t agree with someone, doesn’t mean it is appropriate to associate them with one of the most hideous violations of human rights this world has seen.
2. It is never appropriate to liken someone to Joseph Goebbels unless they are encouraging genocide and directing violent and abusive acts against a population.
3. Anything else is small-minded buffoonery of the highest order.
The Prime Minister owes an apology to the Jewish community and, indeed, all Australians for his shameful performance in Parliament today.