News National Joe Hockey under fire for flippancy on fatal Indian floods

Joe Hockey under fire for flippancy on fatal Indian floods

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Mr Hockey has found himself embroiled in the Liberal Party's HelloWorld scandal Photo: AAP
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Former treasurer Joe Hockey is at the centre of a social media storm after taking to Twitter with a flippant comment about floods in India that have killed 75 people.

“Please send to Australia … rain welcome party will be arranged,” Mr Hockey, now Australia’s ambassador to the US, wrote.

The comment drew fire from other Twitter users, with one replying: “People are dead and the damage toll is huge – what were you thinking?”.

Others linked the floods with climate change:

The floods are the worst in nearly a century in the Indian tourist state of Kerala, where rising water has also stranded tens of thousands of people and forced the closure of the airport in the port city of Kochi.

A senior official with the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, Sekhar Lukose Kuriakose, said the seasonal rain had killed more than 200 people in the state since May.

The state last endured such devastating flooding in 1924.

It is the latest in a string of gaffes from Mr Hockey, who was the Abbott government’s first treasurer but resigned in 2015.

He famously used his first budget speech to say Australia needed to be a nation of “lifters” not “leaners”.

In July, he copped more social media flak for a string of tweets critiquing service at airports and car rental counters around the world:

Mr Hockey was also embarrassingly photographed smoking a cigar with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann after putting the finishing touches to the stringent 2014 budget.

That budget, which featured cuts to services and the imposition of new charges, came after he had declared “the age of entitlement is over”. It was a flop with voters and led eventually to the downfall of Tony Abbott as prime minister – and Mr Hockey as treasurer.

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Joe Hockey and Mathias Cormann in their famous cigar moment. Photo: You Tube

Later in 2014, Mr Hockey said a proposed fuel excise increase – one of many unpopular measures in that year’s budget – would not hit poor people as hard as the rich because they “don’t have cars or actually drive very far”. He apologised for that statement.

In 2015, he advised Australians who wanted to buy their first home to “get a good job that pays good money”, saying that “if housing were unaffordable in Sydney, no one would be buying it”.

In 2013, Mr Hockey told Parliament that car manufacturer Holden should “come clean with the Australian people” and be “honest”about its future in this country: “Either you’re here or you’re not,” he said.

The next day, Holden told workers at its Adelaide plant that it would quit making cars in Australia.

-with AAP