New South Wales Member of Parliament Craig Kelly has apologized for comparing the lockdown situation in Victoria to Nazi Germany. When making the comparison, Kelly was embroiled by the arrest of a pregnant woman in her home over incitement allegations.
On several posts on Facebook, Kelly likened the lockdown to Nazi Germany. The Liberal Party MP made the comparison while condemning the arrest of Zoe Lee Buhler, the pregnant woman who was arrested in her house and in front of her kids for inciting an anti-lockdown protest.
One of the posts read, “No it's not Nazi Germany, it's happening in Australia in 2020.”
In another post, he wrote, “This is what you'd see expect [sic] in Nazi Germany.”
He also said, “As a rule of thumb, you always avoid the analogy with Nazi Germany, but once in a blue moon, you see something so outrageous that the analogy is apt.
“Arresting and handcuffing any person in their own home … for merely sharing a Facebook post calling for a protest against a government policy is a violation of every freedom [Australians] fought to protect. And I make no apology whatsoever for using the Nazi Germany analogy in this case.”
However, Kelly did apologize – due to pressure from the media, the public, and other politicians who were outraged online.
“I'm sorry and regret any offense that this may have caused my many good friends in the Jewish community – and I hope they can forgive me and understand the shock that I felt at seeing such an abuse of freedoms that I hold so dear,” Kelly said in his apology.
Before issuing the apology, Kelly was asked if comparing the lockdown to the Third Reich was not excessive. He said, “Of course it's not Nazi Germany,” and emphasized he was not making comparisons to the Holocaust itself. But he insisted the lockdown was “totalitarian.”
Josh Burns, of the Labor Party, said Kelly should “make a public, unreserved apology and take down his three offensive posts.” Together with health minister Chris Bowen, Burns said that Kelly's posts were “an insult to the many Jewish and other Australians who lost family members in the Holocaust and all of the Australian soldiers who fought Hitler's Nazi regime.”
However, Dvir Abramovich of the Anti-Defamation Commission thinks that Kelly's remarks were misjudged.
“I hope that this episode serves as a teachable moment for other elected representatives to understand that analogies to the Nazis and the Holocaust are becoming far too commonplace and must be avoided in our political discourse,” Abramovich explained.