A Liberal MP Basically Told The Families Of MH17 Victims To Get Over It
Followed by a half-arsed apology.
If you’re not familiar with Craig Kelly, consider yourself lucky. He’s best known as the extremely conservative, climate change denying head of the government’s backbench committee on energy, and for constantly having his pre-selection threatened. Until now.
In an interview on Sky News yesterday, Kelly more or less told the families of the victims of the MH17 disaster to get over it.
If you don’t remember, Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was a passenger jet that was shot down in 2014, killing all 298 people on board, including 27 Australians. The jet was shot down by a Russian missile fired by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. You may remember Tony Abbott threatening to “shirtfront” Russian President Vladimir Putin over the incident.
Speaking on Sky News yesterday — the fourth anniversary of the tragedy — Kelly said it’s time to get over it.
He was being quizzed about President Trump’s decision to side with Russia instead of his own intelligence agencies over Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Kelly was asked about a Facebook message directed at Trump by Anthony Maslin, whose three children died in the tragedy. “Mr Trump, you invented and speak a lot about ‘fake news’. But let’s try talking about something that’s not fake … let’s call them irrefutable facts,” Maslin wrote.
“Any father that has lost three kids would be absolutely devastated but the reality is nothing is going to bring those three kids back,” Kelly responded.
.@CraigKellyMP: We can't fix things that's happened in the past.
It is best if the leaders US and Russia have a good talking relationship, if that means looking over things Russia has done in the past then that's the price we pay.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) July 18, 2018
“So what is best for the continued future of the world … and it is best in my opinion that the leader of the USA and the leader of Russia at least have a good talking relationship.
“If that means some of the things that Russia has gotten away with in the past has to be slightly looked over, well I’m sorry that’s the price that we have to pay sometimes to have good relations going forward.
“We can’t fix things that happened in the past, we’ve got to make sure that the relationships between Russia and the US going forward are the best they can possibly be.”
Translation: Move on.
The comments were swiftly condemned. Reports today suggest that several of Kelly’s own Liberal party colleagues are furious at him.
“A guy who thinks like that does not deserve to be on the national stage,” one Liberal MP told Fairfax.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten condemned the remarks.
I cannot believe he said this. Australians were killed. Children were killed. There are no excuses, ever. Craig Kelly should apologise to the families of the victims. https://t.co/N4GDD88xh1
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) July 18, 2018
Following the furore, Kelly has offered a classic non-apology. Kelly “apologised unreservedly” to the families of MH17 victims, before claiming he’d been taken out of context.
“I’d also say it’s very disappointing that some people have taken political advantage by taking those comments out of context, and have also caused additional harm to those families,” he said.