Alabama governor hits out at Aussie PM's 'redneck' jibe

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is in hot water with the governor of Alabama for his response to comedian Robin Williams' "Australians are basically English rednecks" jibe.

Williams made the joke on the Dave Letterman TV talkshow in the US earlier in the week and Rudd, during a radio interview on Wednesday, hit back by recommending the comedian "spend a bit of time in Alabama before he frames comments about anyone being particularly redneck".

Rudd's reference to Alabama and rednecks generated a terse response from Alabama governor Bob Riley.

"I'm not sure if Prime Minister Rudd has ever been to Alabama," Alabama governor Bob Riley responded in a statement.

"If he has, he would know that Alabamians are decent, hard working, creative people."

Williams was recently in Australia voicing a character in the animated film sequel Happy Feet 2 and spoke about his visit during the Letterman TV talkshow appearance.

"The Australians are basically English rednecks," Williams said.

"I realised if Darwin had landed in Australia, he would've said 'I'm wrong, I don't know what I was thinking'...

"You look at some of these animals and realise there was an open bar in heaven on the last day."

Rudd responded to the Oscar-winning actor-comedian's joke during an interview on Eddie Maguire's Triple M radio show.

"First of all, I think Robin Williams should go and spend a bit of time in Alabama before he frames comments about anyone being particularly redneck," Mr Rudd told Maguire.

In response, the Alabama governor pointed to Australian company Austral's decision to invest heavily in Alabama.

"That's why Alabama is home to Australian companies like Austral which employs more than 1000 Alabamians at the world's largest aluminium shipyard," Mr Riley said.


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