In a press release video sent to thousands of journalists over the weekend, it seems Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott used D-Day commemorations, which mark 70 years since the invasion that sparked the end of Hitler's grip on Western Europe, as an opportunity to invite overseas investors to Australia.
Many users on Twitter ridiculed Abbott’s message, saying it was an “odd,” “mixed up” and “clumsy” effort to cash in on D-Day landings during which more than 3,000 Australians fought and 18 lost their lives, according to official figures.
This isn’t the first time the Australian prime minister raised eyebrows with his shockingly absurd statements.
In fact, he has often been regarded as one of the world’s most unpopular prime ministers ever.
Here is a list of some – of the many – controversies that might’ve contributed to Tony Abbott’s notorious reputation.
His Infamous Wink:
Last month, Abbott gave an awkward wink while answering a radio interview call with a 67-year-old pensioner, who said she was a former phone sex operator.
Apparently, the Australian prime minister wasn’t aware of the fact that the show was being filmed as well and he adopted a stern look as soon as he was signaled by an aide.
After the footage was aired, many – especially women – called Abbott a “creep” and condemned his wink as "slimy" and "sleazy."
His Comments On Homosexuality:
In 2010, during a television interview, Abbott stirred up controversy when he said he would "probably feel a bit threatened ... as most people do" when asked how he felt about homosexuality.
Already notorious for being a misogynist, Tony Abbott was criticized for being “hypocritical” about women losing their virginity in 2010.
When asked by Australian Women’s Weekly what advice he would give to his own daughters on sex before marriage, Abbott replied:
“I would say to my daughters, if they were to ask me this question … it is the greatest gift you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and don’t give it to someone lightly.’’
His Stance On Climate Change:
In 2009, Abbott reportedly referred to the scientific arguments supporting climate change as “crap.”
He reiterated his comments years later in 2013, denying 25 years of climate change research. Abbott also accused a UN executive secretary of the Framework Convention on Climate Change of "talking through her hat."
One of the most popular Twitter trends in Australia is #MorePopularThanAbbot.
It includes posts from Australian users who contribute things they deem more likeable than their prime minister.
Just to give you an example, one person said that "squeezing lemon juice into your paper cuts is #MorePopularThanAbbott.”
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Policies For Asylum-Seekers:
The policies pertaining to asylum-seekers coming to Australia became more severe under Tony Abbott’s rule.
His Draconian and much-criticized “turn back the boats” program allows Australia to use its naval forces to forcibly tow boats back to Indonesian waters.
Last year, in a joint letter addressed to Abbott, 138 organizations called on the Australian federal government to end the practice of describing asylum seekers arriving by boat as “illegal maritime arrivals.”
However, given the fact that the Aussie PM drafted a controversial Code of Conduct for asylum seekers in January, threatening to deport them over trivial offenses such as spitting and swearing, it seems people who accuse him of abusing his power are right.