Mr McCormack, who has taken over while prime minister Scott Morrison takes a week-long holiday, appeared on ABC’s Radio National on Monday morning, where he was questioned about the violence in Washington and Donald Trump’s possible second impeachment.
When asked about the Capitol riots, Mr McCormack said it was “similar to those race riots that we saw around the country last year”.
"These are unfortunate events and of course many people don't remember how you rode the horse – they remember how you dismount the horse. And it is unfortunate that this has occurred,” said Mr McCormack, referring to the end of Mr Trump’s term.
When asked about the US president’s refusal to concede the election and allegations that he encouraged the riot, Mr McCormack said: “Again, look it’s unfortunate that comments were made on Twitter. It’s unfortunate that a decision that has been made by the American people hasn’t been accepted by him.”
While the Capitol riots on Wednesday have been dubbed an act of “insurrection” by president-elect Joe Biden and claimed five lives, including one police officer, the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 were a series of overwhelmingly peaceful rallies demanding equality for racial minorities.
The comparison between the two by Mr McCormack has received strong criticism from Amnesty International, which has demanded he retract the “deeply offensive” statement and issue an apology.
Mr McCormack also used the radio interview to speak out against social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook that have suspended Mr Trump’s accounts on the basis that he was inciting unrest.
“I don’t believe in that kind of censorship,” Mr McCormack said. “There's been a lot of people who have said and done a lot of things on Twitter previously that haven't received that sort of condemnation or indeed censorship,” he said.