As Parliament resumes this week, Grapeshot news editor, Emma Vlatko, takes a look back at some of the best gaffes from the six-week winter break.
WORDS | Emma Vlatko
First up, it’s “Team Australia” Captain, Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Now, our PM might be known for the occasional embarrassing public statement but his recent comments on the Scottish referendum really left us scratching our heads.
‘‘What the Scots do is a matter for the Scots and not for a moment do I presume to tell Scottish voters which way they should vote… But as a friend of Britain, as an observer from afar, it’s hard to see how the world would be helped by an independent Scotland. I think that the people who would like to see the break-up of the United Kingdom are not the friends of justice, the friends of freedom, and the countries that would cheer at the prospect…are not the countries whose company one would like to keep.’’
Not only were the comments unwelcome, they were also unnecessary… Politicians from all sides (who funnily enough, all seem to have Scottish heritage) rallied against the PM’s comments, labelling them “bewildering.” A spokesman for Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond said that “Tony Abbott has a reputation for gaffes, but his bewildering comments have all the hallmarks of one of the Westminster government’s international briefings against Scotland.”
Our Treasurer, Joe Hockey can’t seem to help himself either when he said in a radio interview that “the poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far…”
The embarrassment didn’t end there, when after apologizing for the statement; Hockey proceeded to claim he had been misrepresented. In another radio interview, when asked about the incident he stated, “Look I think anyone who actually looks at what I actually said as opposed to what people were reporting that I said might form that view.”
Our Government can’t seem to keep its mouth shut… Australia’s Employment Minister, Eric Abetz, in an interview on Channel 10’s “The Project” in early August, stated that there was a link between abortion and breast cancer…
The studies Abetz referred to were published in the 1950’s, and are, according to the Australian Medical Association, conclusively and scientifically incorrect..
Unfortunately, the Senator didn’t learn his lesson, and like the Treasurer, complained of being misrepresented and cut off before being able to clarify his position.
Whether you believe his excuse or not, Minister Abetz’s words could have serious repercussions. The Chief Officer of the Breast Cancer Network Australia hit out at the Senator saying, ” I think it’s really harmful to give credibility to claims like this. It could potentially give women unnecessaryconcern about something there is absolutely no evidence for.” But the Senator’s crisis management skills must have come from his leader, who instead of publically condemning the remarks, laughed them off, labelling them as “sheepish.”
Where would our news outlets be without Clive Palmer? The opinionated billionaire turned MP has helped fill news bulletins around the country for the past year. But the popular politician really put his foot in it on the 18th of August on the ABC’s Q&A program…
The situation wasn’t helped by Palmer United Party Senator, Jacquie Lambi, who took her loyalty too far when she said the following morning, “Whether it’s a communist Chinese invasion or whether it’s an invasion from Indonesia…” And whilst Palmer later apologised for his comments after an outpouring of public and political outrage, Lambi has stood by her comment stating, “I don’t see why I would offer an apology when I’m actually speaking about the Chinese communist regime and not the Chinese people.”
Now, you may be thinking this post has focused too heavily on our Government, and that it might be a little too left leaning. The truth is that I would have included a gaffe from Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten if I didn’t instantly fall asleep any time he started talking…