Tuesday, 24 March 2015

In which Tony Abbott calls Bill Shorten "the Dr Goebbels of economic policy and Christopher Pyne accuses Mark Dreyfus of calling Abbott "Goebbels-like" in the past

Just to make it very clear, despite what Christopher Pyne was saying to The Speaker in this video, the Member for Isaacs Mark Dreyfus never at any time referred to Tony Abbott as "Dr. Goebbels" or called him “Goebbels-like” in the House of Representatives.

It is easy enough to check using OpenAustralia.

In recent years there has only been one offender in the House and three in the Senate before Prime Minister Abbott opened his mouth on 18 March 2015 and called Opposition Leader Bill Shorten “the Dr. Goebbels of economic policy”.

Senator Ross Lightfoot (Liberal) used the sentence The spin you put on it would make Goebbels blush in May 2008,Senator Ian MacDonald (Liberal) said Goebbels would be proud of you in September 2011, MP for Moreton Graham Perrett (Labor) used the phrase Goebbels-type experiment in June 2013 and, Senator Linda Reynolds (Liberal) stated Goebbels was in favour of free speech for views he liked in October 2014.

Whatever MPs and Senators may say or imply outside of parliament is not normally the business of parliament and, it should not have been on the day though I suspect it was a factor as The Speaker, Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop, sent Labor MP Mark Dreyfus from the House for objecting.

How the Northern Hemisphere saw the situation.....

The Independent (Ireland) 18 March 2015:

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 Mr 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," Mr Danby told The Associated Press (AP) 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."
Mr Dreyfus later described the Nazi reference as inappropriate for a prime minister….
Peter Wertheim, executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, an organisation representing Jewish community organisations, declined to comment today because of his council's apolitical stance.
But he referred AP to the council's long-standing policy statement that it: "Deplores the inappropriate use of analogies to the Nazi genocide in Australian public debate."

On 20 March 2015 Abbott tries a little 'context' in an ABC interview reported in The Age on the same day:

"Mr Abbott for a Rhodes scholar, how come you say so many stupid things? 'Lifestyle choices' has enraged Aboriginal community leaders, and yesterday, bringing Goebbels into the Parliament?" Faine put to the Prime Minister.
"I withdrew and I apologised and I did it straight away, there was no hesitation. I accept that in the context of history and the way things have developed that was an over-the-top remark and I straight away withdrew and apologised," Mr Abbott responded.
"But why do you have this foot in mouth disease, what's going on?" Faine asked.
"All of us from time to time in the heat of debate and you know how heated the Parliament can get, sometimes can go too far," Mr Abbott said.

Unfortunately for Abbott images of him laughing at the response to his remark during and at the end of the incident give lie to the sincerity of his apology.

Financial Review 19 March & 21 March 2015

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