Therapeutic Albanese's turn to come unstuck over historical Nazi reference, live by the sword.......
Anthony Albanese says he regrets a historical Nazi reference he once used to attack the Coalition over asylum-seekers as Jewish leaders call for an end to the use of such offensive remarks in political debate.
It comes only a day after Mr Albanese was forced to condemn a Labor branch Facebook page that depicted Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s first Jewish treasurer, in a Nazi-SS uniform.
The Labor leader was forced to withdraw the use of a Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil” when accusing the Howard government of racist policy over the Tampa affair in 2001.
He had shouted the slogan across the chamber of parliament – a remark he was forced to withdraw by the Speaker. It went largely unreported at the time.
But the Coalition has used the historical insult by Mr Albanese to accuse Labor of hypocrisy after Mr Albanese earlier this year denounced the use of Holocaust parallels for political purposes.
Mr Albanese told The Weekend Australian: “I regretted the comment of more than 20 years ago, which is why I withdrew it at the time. Holocaust parallels should never be used, which is why I never have.”
With an increasing use of Holocaust references in Australian politics, Jewish leaders have said “enough is enough” and suggested politicians may need to be educated about the Nazi genocide.
Colin Rubenstein, executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, said while Mr Albanese had withdrawn the remark, such references could never be justified.
“It was important and proper that Anthony Albanese withdrew the remark at the time it was made, because inappropriate Nazi references are never justified as they risk trivialising the uniquely evil nature of that regime,” he said.
The issue came to prominence during the election campaign when Katherine Deves, the Liberal candidate for the Sydney seat of Warringah, was forced to apologise for previous remarks in which she compared her “activism” on transgender athletes to those who stood up against the Nazis.