Australian PM criticised for Borat impression in Parliament

The Australian prime minister has been criticised online after impersonating comedy character Borat during Question Time in Parliament.

Responding to a question about a lack of new environmental commitments in the recent budget, Scott Morrison described the opposition’s climate proposals as a “Borat tax” which the character would find “very nice, very nice”.

Borat was a controversial 2006 film starring Sacha Baron Cohen as the titular character, a Kazakh journalist travelling around the US recording real-life interactions with everyday Americans.

Baron Cohen has said Borat was intended to highlight Western attitudes to foreigners, although the film was criticised for its characterisation of Kazakhstan as backward and anti-Semitic.

“Even Sacha Baron Cohen has stopped doing Borat impressions,” tweeted Jordan Raskopoulos.

Jordan Raskopoulos

@JordanRasko

Even Sacha Baron Cohen has stopped doing Borat impressions.

See Jordan Raskopoulos’s other Tweets

The comment came as the Australian Labor Party suggested an environmental policy which would allow companies to buy carbon credits, used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, from other countries.

One such country could be Kazakhstan, Mr Morrison said, leading him to label the proposal the “Borat tax” and echo one of the character’s catchphrases.

Australian Labor MP Tim Watts tweeted: “Well we’ve finally reached the nadir. The Prime Minister doing Borat impressions in Parliament.”

Tim Watts MP

@TimWattsMP

Well we’ve finally reached the nadir.

The Prime Minister doing Borat impersonations in Parliament.

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Columnist Myriam Robin said: “I was at school when Borat came out and all the guys in class kept quoting it and they wouldn’t stop and it was a very dark time in my life. Please no more talk of the bad movie.”

Journalist Josh Butler discovered that Borat had been mentioned in Parliament six times in the past, “most recently Ed Husic in 2018, when he said ‘We have Borat broadband in this country. Kazakhstan is beating Australia… How did we get to the spot where Borat beats us on broadband?’”

Josh Butler

@JoshButler

“Mr Speaker, very nice”

perhaps a historic day in the parliament, the first time a sitting Prime Minister has quoted ‘Borat’ into the hansard of the federal parliament

Embedded video

Josh Butler

@JoshButler

a search of the hansard shows me that the word ‘Borat’ has been mentioned six times before – most recently Ed Husic in 2018, when he said “We have Borat broadband in this country. Kazakhstan is beating Australia… How did we get to the spot where Borat beats us on broadband?”

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Tim Beshara, federal policy director for environmental organisation Wilderness Society, highlighted the seriousness of the question he was asked before referring to Mr Morrison as “the child Prime Minister” for his response.

Asked later on Australian radio whether he often quotes Borat in the Federal Parliament, Mr Morrison laughed and said: “Not very often but I thought it was very appropriate.”

Australia is expected to hold an election by the end of November 2019.

Press Association

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