Tony Abbott’s St Patrick’s Day Message To The Irish Is ‘Patronising’ [VIDEO]

By @chelean on
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
IN PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) gestures during a joint news conference with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (not pictured) on Abbott's first official two-day visit, in Auckland February 28, 2015. REUTERS/David Rowland/Pool

Tony Abbott was “patronising” to Irish people in his new St Patrick’s Day video. Irish leaders thought the Australian prime minister missed the opportunity to deliver a meaningful message by unsuccessfully attempting to be funny.

The country’s leader wasn’t able to attend the St Patrick’s Day business lunches in Melbourne and Sydney on Friday, and therefore just recorded a video message for the Irish. Unfortunately, his intended viewers found his message offensive.

“It’s safe to say that this is one day of the year when it’s good to be green,” Mr Abott said in the video, holding his green tie for the viewers to see. That was seen as a jab to other political parties that believe in climate change.

He then went on to focus on Irish stereotypes and gave a mangled version of history on the Irish’s contribution to Australia. “This is the love of life and good humour that the Irish have given Australia. Indeed, it’s been said of us that the English made the laws, the Scots made the money, and the Irish made the songs,” the PM said before calling the late historian Patrick O’Farrell “Paddy.”

He then extended his apology for being unable to “share a Guinness or two or even three” at the lunch events. The Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne and the Landsowne Club in Sydney both held sold-out lunches on Friday.

His message, which was injected with the PM’s own brand of humour, wasn’t found funny by the Irish community. An Irish businessman in the country called Mr Abbott’s video message “patronising.”

“I would have hoped for a more business-focused message in a video that was designed for business functions,” he told the Irish Times. “There are so many good stories of Irish people in business in Australia, Mr Abbott’s lack of awareness of any of that is astonishing.”

Both the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce and the Landsowne Club did not play the video at their event, with the former organisation’s chief executive, Barry Corr, explaining that it was a generic video message and was not intended for corporate audience.

This isn’t the first time Mr Abbott has offended the Irish. In 2011, he came under fire for a joke he made during a speech. He described the then-PM Julia Gillard’s administration as “a bit like the Irishman who lost 10 pounds betting on the Grand National and then lost 20 pounds on the action replay.”

Mr Abbott apologised to the embassy of Ireland in Canberra after it complained about the joke. He reportedly called the embassy to express his “regret.”