- The media release from the Prime Minister's Office
- PM and veterans commemorate D-Day
- The Pulse Live with Judith Ireland
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has courted controversy by linking a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day to his government's policies.
On Sunday afternoon the Prime Minister released a video which he began by saying the D-Day landings had changed the course of human history. Seconds later Mr Abbott makes an odd segue into a message for overseas investors, that Australia is open for business.
A still from Tony Abbott's video message on the D-Day landings and the trade trip to Europe.
He goes on to talk about the government's commitment to repealing the carbon tax and the mining tax, then returns to D-Day.
"The United States, Canada and France are long standing friends. We stood together at D-Day, we trade every day and we have always shared a commitment to democracy, to enterprise and to people's right to be free," he says in the video.
Labor and the Greens on Monday criticised Mr Abbott over the video with Labor saying Mr Abbott was ''unsuited to the office of Prime Minister'', and Greens leader Christine Milne labelling it ''appalling''.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott meets with D-Day veterans on Saturday. Photo: James Brickwood
The conflation of the two messages raised eyebrows on Twitter on Sunday with Senator Milne, political commentator George Megalogenis and comedian Charlie Pickering among those criticising the PM.
.@TonyAbbottMHR has humiliated Australia on world stage under UNFCCC, UNHCR, World Heritage and Biodiversity Conventions and now D Day.— Christine Milne (@senatormilne) June 1, 2014
Tom Hanks to play Tony Abbott in a new movie to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day: Saving Private Enterprise. http://t.co/UcMdK6OXrG— George Megalogenis (@GMegalogenis) June 1, 2014
Each week Mr Abbott posts a video detailing ''important events for the week''.
On this most recent post, and after Fairfax Media became aware of the video on Sunday night, someone changed the title from ''A message from the PM - 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings'' to ''A message from the PM - Visit to France, Canada and United States''.
Unfortunately for the Prime Minister's office the opening graphic on the video retains the original title. The link to the transcript of the video can no longer be accessed.
The Prime Minister's Office on Monday denied the transcript had been deleted saying: ''It should be working because nothing has been taken off. There are stories doing around that things have been deleted and that is definitely not the case. It's all up there and it should be working.''
In the video Mr Abbott says: ''As part of the commemoration, I will join seven Australians who were there 70 years ago.''
''Over 3000 Australians were involved – including 2500 air force personnel who provided air support for the Allied landings. Following the D-Day commemorations, I will be travelling to Canada and the United States – and will be joined by Australian business leaders.
''My message to overseas investors is that Australia is open for business.''
The early part of the video features images of Australian World War II diggers who he will be joining at the commemoration ceremony.
Another release on the Prime Minister's website was sent out on Saturday and details Mr Abbott's travel arrangements for the D-Day commemoration. It also says that the government is considering constructing an ''interpretive'' centre at Villers-Bretonneux.
A spokeswoman for Mr Abbott said that every Sunday afternoon, the Prime Minister's office provides a weekly video of important events for the week.
''This week the world will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing and the Prime Minister will join seven Australians who were there 70 years ago,'' she said.
''The Prime Minister will also be traveling to Canada and the United States this week and he will be joined by Australian business leaders. During the Trade Mission and during Parliament sittings this week the Government will be discussing our Economic Action Strategy to build to a stronger Australia and more prosperous economy.''
Parliamentary secretary to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Jim Chalmers, said the widely criticised video showed ''how thoroughly unsuited the Prime Minister is for that office that he now holds''.
''He is more comfortable in the political sandpit than he is on the world stage. He is a national leader in name only,'' Mr Chalmers said.
''He should not be using the D-Day anniversary as an excuse to make the usual political points.''
Greens Leader Christine Milne called the Prime Minister's comments ''appalling''.
''His appalling mixing up of the D-Day commemoration and turning it into a rant on carbon pricing just shows the extent to which he does not separate out the critical issues facing the country and his own tiny bubble of political ambition,'' Senator Milne said.