Radio reporter was fired:
‘Mr. Gillard’ called ‘First Bloke’
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is questioned on live radio on Friday. She faced a barrage of questions about whether her husband is gay.
THE NEWS FROM AUSTRALIA on Friday, which most Americans probably missed, was both disquieting and in a warped way, amusing.
On global television, one sees the Prime Minister of a major democracy and strong U.S. ally thoroughly embarrassed by the indiscreet questioning of a “shock jock”
Nick Bryant reports for the BBC from Sydney:
“A radio presenter has been sacked in Australia for asking Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a live interview if her partner is gay.
“Howard Sattler suggested to Ms. Gillard that her partner of seven years, Tim Mathieson, “had to be homosexual because he was a hairdresser.”
Should Sattler have done this?
Australian Prime Minister Julie Gillard is seen kissing her husband, Tim Mathieson.
IF YOU WATCH the video on BBC News, you will notice Sattler was not satisfied with Gillard’s first answer. He pursued her like a fiend.
“Ms Gillard characterised (sic) his comments as an absurd generalization,” Bryant reported.
“The DJ was suspended and then sacked by Fairfax Radio, which apologized (sic) for the ‘disrespectful’ questioning.”
Gillard has been under fire for quite some time. It is mostly coming from her own Labor Party.
(Australian political parties are somewhat difficult for Americans to figure out; the Liberal Party is actually the more conservative, right-of-center one; the Labour (sic) Party is left of center.)
I follow Australian politics because of a personal interest: many of my family members, including a brother, live there.
Gillard and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd have been feuding ever since he was thrown out in an internal party coup d’état.
Over the weekend, this seemed to come to a head with a public call from a Labor Member of Parliament for Gillard to step down. She is clearly on the defensive.
Reporting Saturday in The Australian newspaper, Sid Maher writes:
Sky News Television (Australia) reports on Saturday that Gillard is fighting back against an appeal for her resignation.
“Speaking in Adelaide where she was announcing $100 million funding for a new cancer centre (sic) and clinical school, the Prime Minister also dismissed a call by Western Sydney MP John Murphy for her to stand down for Kevin Rudd.
“Ms Gillard said she would just let the rumour (sic) leadership talk ‘wash its way round.’”
Maher then consulted another authoritative source on Gillard’s chances of leading the party in an upcoming election.
“Asked today if Ms Gillard would lead Labor to the September poll, [Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul] Howes said “absolutely.”
“She’s the right person to lead the party in September, and she will lead the party in September,” he said.
One has to look pretty hard for news from Australia in the United States; that’s one of the reasons I watch the BBC – it’s perspective truly is global.
But the report about the inappropriate questioning on the radio is disquieting for two reasons: first it is disrespectful of the office; second, it is no one’s business.
I thought it was only in America where politicians’ private lives have been considered fair game since U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart in 1988 invited media scrutiny of his private life.
In short order, it was revealed that he had had an affair, enough to kill his presidential aspirations.
It really is not a matter of public concern – or should not be – whether Tim Mathieson is gay or not.
If the radio host was just trying to get attention, seems like he got a bit more than he bargained for.
Should he have been sacked? What do you think? Express yourself in the comments below.