LABOR Senator Kim Carr has come under fire for using a Nazi-era comparison in comments made regarding media coverage of Australia-China scientific collaborations.
Speaking in the Senate on Wednesday, Senator Carr slammed members of the government for being “only too-willing accomplices” in a series of articles claiming that COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and suggesting Australia’s national security is under threat due to collaborations with scientists who are Chinese government “dupes”.
Citing reports by Daily Telegraph journalist Sharri Markson, who is Jewish, and taking aim at “mavericks within the coalition”, the Victorian Senator said, “This is a new low, even in the long history of shameful attacks on science by members of this government.
“It recalls the campaigns directed against science by the far-right politicians in Europe in the 1930s, campaigns that also shrugged off any need for evidence, campaigns run by people who assured us that, if you keep repeating a slur, however ill-founded, sooner or later people will believe it.”
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese told reporters any comparison with the Nazi regime was “always inappropriate”.
Nationals Senator Matt Canavan told The Daily Telegraph Carr’s comments were “ridiculous”.
“The first person to make a comparison to Nazis automatically loses the debate,” he said.
Markson called it a “shameful Nazi slur” on Twitter.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim told The AJN “special care” is needed in political discussion to avoid Nazi comparisons.
“The use of inappropriate analogies with Nazism has crept into political discourse in Australia with increasing frequency, and has the potential to trivialise Nazi totalitarianism, particularly in the thinking of younger people who have no personal point of entry into understanding the brutal realities of life and death under the Nazi regime,” he said.
“For this reason the ECAJ some years ago adopted an express policy which ‘deplores the inappropriate use of analogies to the Nazi genocide and Nazi tyranny in Australian public debate’.”