JUST JOKING: Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd, pictured speaking at the Gladstone Citizenship Ceremony, said the comment wasn't made in a personal or derogatory fashion.
JUST JOKING: Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd, pictured speaking at the Gladstone Citizenship Ceremony, said the comment wasn't made in a personal or derogatory fashion. Paul Braven GLA300117KEN

MP apologises for cringe-worthy border joke at citizenship ceremony

THE Federal Member for Flynn has apologised for a cringe-worthy jibe directed at a Mexican-born man during Wednesday night's Gladstone Citizenship Ceremony.

Former Gladstone resident Dante Reynaud was guest speaker at the event.

He spoke positively about his life since moving to Australia and becoming a citizen.

But Ken O'Dowd didn't get the reception he'd hoped for when he took the stage and joked Mr Reynaud was lucky to leave Mexico before US president Donald Trump's proposed wall was built.

The joke fell flat with the audience, with some using Facebook to describe the remark as "offensive" and "an all-time low".

However, the butt of the joke, Mr Reynaud, told The Observer he hadn't taken personal offence to Mr O'Dowd's comment.

"Everyone can feel like they want to feel but I don't worry about that," Mr Reynaud said.

"I'm used to people making jokes about Mexican people, but it didn't offend me."

 

Mexican-born former Gladstone resident Dante Reynaud spoke positively about his life in Australia.
Mexican-born former Gladstone resident Dante Reynaud spoke positively about his life in Australia. Paul Braven GLA250117CITIZEN

Mr O'Dowd said the "offhand" comment wasn't made in a personal or derogatory fashion.

"Rather, (it) touched on the very real situation playing out at the moment in North America," he said.

"It is a shame that people may have taken offence at such an innocent comment, however I apologise for any distress my comments may have caused."

Mr Reynaud said he didn't believe a wall separating the US and Mexico would be effective.

"There's not any wall that can separate one country from another country, or one culture from another culture," he said.

"If people want to get somewhere, I think they will find a way."



REVEALED: New tenant snaps up $3m Best and Less site

premium_icon REVEALED: New tenant snaps up $3m Best and Less site

Big plans underway only days after CBD store closure was announced

Suncorp's big plan start with CBD store closure

premium_icon Suncorp's big plan start with CBD store closure

Big bank's central store closure a pathway to bigger plans

Senate committee's cashless card decision is in

premium_icon Senate committee's cashless card decision is in

Report tabled tonight delivers committee recommendation on card

Local Partners