Murray apologises

April 6, 2016 by J-Wire News Service
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Federal Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg has welcomed an apology issued by former Commonwealth Bank head David Murray for remarks he made when comparing corporate watchdog ASIC’s actions with those of Adolf Hitler.

David Murray Photo: Wikipedia

David Murray Photo: Wikipedia

Speaking at a Fairfax Media organised forum in Sydney, Murray spoke about  the Australian Securities and Investment Commission saying “It’s anticompetitive, it’s inefficient, and to be perfectly candid, there have been people in the world who have tried to enforce culture; Adolf Hitler comes to mind.”

The comparison brought a strong reaction from the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Dvir Abramovich and Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg.

Josh Frydenberg

Josh Frydenberg

In issuing the apology David Murray told The Australian: “I wish to apologise for referring to Adolf Hitler in arguing against ASIC’s proposed leg on culture. The reference was excessive, hurtful to many people who suffered from that regime and unnecessary to make the point. In particular, I wish to apologise to the people of ASIC who are above that kind of analogy.”

Josh Frydenberg told The Australian: “Look, David is a very well-respected figure. I consider him a friend … but I will agree to disagree with him on the way he characterised ASIC,” he told ABC TV.

“I’m pretty sensitive to those sort of analogies and comparing ASIC to Nazi Germany is highly inappropriate.”

He told J-Wire: “I welcome the apology.”

President of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Robert Goot told J-Wire: “It was entirely inappropriate for Mr Murray to draw a comparison between ASIC and Nazi Germany.   Political, social and business life in a democracy like Australia is light years away from the totalitarian horrors of the Nazi regime.  Comparisons of this nature do a disservice to historical truth and accuracy, especially when made by a respected figure such as Mr Murray.  He did the right thing  by promptly acknowledging his error and apologising for it.   Whilst robust public debate is rightly prized in Australia, our democracy is surely mature enough by now to reject the reflexive resort to hyperbole of this kind.”

Abramovich added: “To suggest that ASIC’s culture is in any way similar to the circumstances of the Third Reich, where millions were brutally murdered cheapens the suffering experienced by Hitler’s victims. In no way can the measures taken by ASIC be compared to the Third Reich’s deliberate and systematic extermination policy,” “Invoking the Holocaust to criticise a corporate stance adds nothing to the debate, is historically inaccurate, and fuels the dangerous trivialisation of the Holocaust. It is also immensely hurtful to Holocaust survivors, their families, as well as to those who fought bravely against the Nazis in World War II.

“I do hope that there will come a time when public figures will realise that using inappropriate and painful analogies to Hitler in order to score a political point and generate headlines are misguided and insensitive.”

Dr Abramovich said Mr Murray “did the right thing” by apologising.

“I welcome his apology and pleased that he has disassociated himself from his hurtful remarks. We take him at his word that he genuinely regrets his unacceptable comparison and that he recognises that his comments were painful to the victims and to the survivors of Hitler’s genocidal regime,” he said.

“As far as I am concerned, the matter is closed. This episode is a reminder that we all have to be mindful of the dangers of employing Hitler references in the public square.”


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