Lib MP Quickly Apologises After Telling Family Of MH17 Victims To Move On

Liberal MP Craig Kelly is definitely one of the most embarrassing people Parliament right now. When he’s not facing preselection challenges from within his own party, he’s showing up at far-right events accidentally, and aggressively denying climate change against all evidence. Now he’s covered himself in glory again by basically telling the families of those killed in the MH17 plane disaster to get over it, so that the United States and Russia can be friends.

Whether or not you consider that to be valid, it’s definitely a weirdly insensitive thing to say when it’s clear Kelly’s primary interest is sucking up to Donald Trump and the kind of Australians who might admire him.

Responding to a message from Anthony Maslin, the Perth father whose three children were killed on MH17, Kelly told Sky News that “nothing that happens” could bring back the 298 victims, who were killed when a Russia-aligned group shot down the plane.

Here’s what he said originally:

Any father that has lost three kids would be absolutely devastated but the reality is nothing is going to bring those three kids back. 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.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, he’s walked that one back almost instantly, after facing an absolute firestorm of criticism from the public, the media, and his own party.

Speaking to Radio National, Kelly said he “unreservedly apologised” for his comments, and said that he has the “greatest sympathy for everyone who had family and friends aboard that flight.”

But, because there’s no such thing as an apology without qualification in 2018, he also called out the news media for taking his comments 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.

Of course, the harm came entirely from the reporting on the comments, and not the fact that he literally made them on Sky News. But that’s neither here nor there, is it?

He did reiterate his original point afterwards – which, again, isn’t necessarily completely invalid, though his phrasing certainly leaves something to be desired.

“As much it galls us and as much as I myself would like to shirtfront President Putin,” he said. “The reality of the world is that we need the US and Russia, the presidents of both countries, to have a good relationship.”

For the record – before his political priorities changed – Craig was very much anti-Putin on the whole MH17 scenario.