Joe Hockey slammed over drought joke
AN attempt at a joke has backfired spectacularly on Australia's Ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey.
The former treasurer took to Twitter overnight to share a video news report about heavy rain and flooding in India.
"Please sent to Australia - rain welcome party will be arranged," Mr Hockey wrote, in an apparent joke about the country's continuing drought crisis.
However, the death toll from flooding in the Indian state of Kerala has hit 75 and could rise even further, as authorities battle to rescue trapped residents.
The insensitive remark has sparked a social media backlash, with Twitter users attacking Mr Hockey and labelling him "out of touch" and a "jerk".
"Really Ambassador @JoeHockey? When scores of people have died? On the anniversary of India's independence? And at the same time your government and India want deeper ties?" Prasanna Kovalam wrote.
Terry Dwyer added: "You should give a little more thought before commenting on a disaster. Try to imagine how you would feel if your family was caught in it."
"Those who died in Kerala were probably 'leaners'," Simon Rosenberg wrote, harking back on Mr Hockey's comments while treasurer about underprivileged Australians.
While Steve Exon simply said: "75 dead Joe. Foolish comment"
Rain continues to wreak havoc across the region and a state of emergency has been declared.
While the humanitarian side of the weather event has worsened significantly today, the gravity of the situation was known yesterday when Mr Hockey made the comment.
It's not clear though if the ambassador was fully aware of the situation. A request for comment has been made.
This isn't time Mr Hockey's social media activity has raised eyebrows.
He has been using the photo-sharing platform Instagram to chronicle his time abroad, with his elevator selfies drawing the most attention.