Pyne backs away from Nazi remarks
Christopher Pyne... "I’m not necessarily apologising to Mark Dreyfus..." Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne has retracted a comment he made comparing the Labor Party to a film about the last days of the Third Reich, but new Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, says the apology does not go far enough.
On Sunday, in the wake of high profile resignations from Prime Minister Julia Gillard's frontbench, Mr Pyne said Labor was looking like Hitler's government in the 2004 movie, Downfall.
''This government is starting to resemble a scene from Downfall and the Prime Minister is presiding over a divided and dysfunctional government,'' he said.
At the time, Mr Dreyfus described the comments as a ''disgrace'' and called on Mr Pyne to apologise.
''These comments are deeply hurtful to Holocaust survivors, they are deeply hurtful to any right thinking Australian,'' he said.
On Monday, Mr Pyne said he had not been comparing Ms Gillard to Hitler, but that the chaos in the federal government was similar to a scene from the film.
''I'm not necessarily apologising to Mark Dreyfus, because his is confected outrage designed to get a headline,'' he told Sky News.
''But if anybody else has taken offence at that, well of course I retract the statement.''
He then called on Mr Dreyfus, who is Jewish, to apologise for written comments he made in 2011 in which he likened Mr Abbott's campaign against the carbon tax to Nazi propaganda.
But Mr Dreyfus said the comments were ''very different things''.
''I was making a comment about communication strategies, in particular drawing attention to well-known, well-established ... communication strategies sometimes called 'Big Lie' propaganda,'' he told Sky News on Monday afternoon.
Mr Dreyfus also dismissed Mr Pyne's retraction, calling it a "callous non-apology" and adding: "Mr Pyne’s description this morning of my personal response to his remarks as 'confected outrage' is grotesque.''
Three of Mr Dreyfus's German great-grandparents died in the Holocaust. He rcounted in his maiden speech to parliament in 2008 that his grandparents had sent his father and uncle from Germany to Australia in 1939.
On his first official day as Attorney-General, Mr Dreyfus said that he felt prepared for the new role, pointing out that in his old Cabinet Secretary job he had attended every cabinet meeting and every cabinet committee meeting.
He will be going to synagogue on September 14, which is the Jewish holy day Yom Kippur as well as the federal election.
''I would have preferred if it had been on another date but there is no election date, no Saturday that is not going to cause some inconvenience to some part of the Australian community,'' he said.
He said he would consider what else he could do on the day.
Labor MP Michael Danby, who is also Jewish, has said he will not campaign on September 14.
Poll: Were Christopher Pyne's comments comparing the Labor Party to the film Downfall offensive?
Total votes: 7271.
You will need Cookies enabled to use our Voting Feature.
These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.