Prime Minister Scott Morrison is understood to have spent the weekend weighing up calling a snap poll to take advantage of “the clear Nazi sympathies sadly exhibited by Anthony Albanese and the Australian Labor Party”.
“The Opposition’s total failure to put politics aside just for once and come out in defence of Finance Minister Mathias Cormann over shocking claims that he is a Nazi is unforgiveable, the PM told a media call in Canberra this morning.
“Maybe the Australian people need to be given an opportunity to voice their opinion on this shocking turn of events and Labor’s totally unAustralian view of the world,” the PM said.
“Labor’s total silence over this sickening slur on a fine and decent Australian shows it is unfit to govern and Albanese must never ever be prime minister of this great nation of ours.”
Senator Cormann is said to be inconsolable after veteran political journo Paul Bongiorno late last week apparently accused him of using Joseph Goebbels-style tactics. Goebbels was Hitler’s wartime propaganda minister.
The veteran scribe who now writes for The Saturday Paper has removed the offending tweet and apologised unreservedly, saying he had never meant to infer the minister was a Nazi. The tweet apparently referred to Goebbel’s quote that “if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it people will eventually come to believe it”.
Senator Cormann, who was born in a German-speaking part of Belgium, shot back last Friday on Twitter: “Are you for real! I speak with a German accent, so you accuse me of being a Nazi? You are absolutely despicable @PaulBongiorno. You clearly do not know what you are talking about. This is a disgrace and you should apologise.”
And the new Senator for Victoria Sarah “swimming pools for all” Henderson, resting in a Victorian private hospital as she recovered from shock, tweeted with a light-headed mixture of faux umbrage and fake outrage: “@PaulBongiorno I have known you for more than 30 years and I cannot believe you would stoop to such disgusting lows. You are despicable. You must make a complete unconditional apology to @MathiasCormann”
Senator Cormann also kept up his outrage on Twitter: “I’m not Belgian
@PaulBongiorn, I am Australian. But yes I do speak with a German accent. I thought that was known at the offices of @10NewsFirst you continue to occupy at the Canberra Press Gallery.”
And Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, a proud member of the Jewish faith, tweeted: “Invoking Goebbels, one of Hitler’s key henchmen, to attack my colleague @MathiasCormann is appalling @PaulBongiorno. It shows a lack of sensitivity & understanding of history’s darkest period. You should immediately apologise.”
Mr Morrison said the ALP and its leader had clearly, albeit covertly, accused Senator Cormann of the most heinous of Nazi crimes.
As he spoke, he was joined by the Treasurer who held up graphic black and white images of World War 2 Auschwitz atrocities.
“Labor has virtually accused Senator Cormann of being one of the hated Blockschreibers, Kapos and Stubendienst who made barrack life in the concentration camps a living hell,” the PM said.
“Does the Finance Minister look anything like the reviled and dreaded Sonderkommando who took the gold fillings out of the teeth of gassed prisoners?”
His voice quavering and at times thick with emotion, the PM paused occasionally to hug Mr Frydenberg and whisper “We are sorry for your people’s loss”.
Asked to comment, Mr Frydenberg said the people who had brought High Court challenges to his parliamentary career were “clearly holocaust deniers who more than likely would be members of the Nazi-sympathising ALP”.