ORGANISERS of the Fringe Festival have defended a free public performance held in Civic on Friday night that featured a performer in a Nazi-style uniform and wearing a Hitler moustache who stripped down to her underwear, amid claims it was anti-Semitic.
ACT opposition multicultural affairs spokeswoman Giulia Jones said the burlesque performance, which allegedly also featured a man pretending to masturbate, was offensive.
She called on Multicultural Affairs Minister Joy Burch to explain how approval was given to spend government funds on support for a show that, in her view, was offensive and racist.
''There were lots of kids around at the time, there were families,'' Ms Jones said. ''The real issue we need to know is how the minister thought it would be acceptable to hold a show with Nazi references within the footprint of the multicultural festival where we had Jewish, German and other stalls nearby?''
The director of the show - titled Die Fringe Burlesk! - Jorian Gardner, said he apologised if anyone took offence but the whole point of the event was to be edgy, and screening meant the show was not directly visible from Civic Square.
''We had a girl dressed up in a fuehrer's outfit and she had gold wings - and I'm not sure Hitler had wings - and she danced around with a Hitler accent,'' Mr Gardner said.
''If anything it was making fun of Hitler; it was not anti-Semitic in any way shape or form, and everyone who was here was having a laugh at the ridiculousness of it.
''Often with satire it's subjective, I guess, and in this case I think most of the audience saw it was a funny satirical skit, nothing else.''
Mr Gardner said it had been the biggest night in the festival's history, and he had not received a single complaint from the jubilant crowd.
''We've given fair warning … of the risque nature of the show; no one can say we haven't promoted it. If people are coming to a burlesque show and a comedy show, they need to know what they're up for and that comedy could push the boundaries. You've got to deal with it.''
A spokeswoman for Ms Burch said the minister did not wish to comment.