(JTA) – Australia’s prime minister publicly apologized for comparing the country’s opposition leader to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.
On March 19, Tony Abbott said in a parliament meeting that Labour Party leader Bill Shorten was the “Dr. Goebbels of economic policy.”
Abbott apologized on a radio interview the day after.
“I accept that in the context of history and the way things developed, that was an over-the-top remark,” Abbott said to Australian Broadcasting Corp. broadcaster Jon Faine, who is Jewish. “All of us from time to time in the heat of debate – and you know how heated the parliament can get – sometimes go too far. I accept that.”
Labour lawmaker Mark Dreyfus, one of three Jewish lawmakers in the parliament, was thrown out of the chamber on March 19 for protesting Abbott’s Nazi comparison. Fellow Jewish Labor lawmaker Michael Danby left with him in solidarity.
Abbott had previously apologized just over a month ago for describing a cut in defense jobs as a “holocaust of jobs.”
In his radio interview on Friday, Abbott said that at least 11 Labour lawmakers had made similar references in the past.
In 2011, Dreyfus described Abbott’s political campaign as “Goebellian” in a newspaper op-ed.