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Columnist repeats ‘Aussie PM’s partner is gay’ rumors, then says sorry

Columnist repeats ‘Aussie PM’s partner is gay’ rumors, then says sorry

A newspaper columnist questioned the sexuality of the Australian prime minister’s boyfriend again on a TV show yesterday.

On Sunday discussion TV show ABC Insiders right-wing newspaper columnist Piers Akerman said ‘a lot of people in the Canberra [press] gallery have been saying the same thing [as radio host Howard Sattler]’.

Guests on ABC Insiders were discussing Sattler’s live radio interview with Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week, in which he asked if her parter Tim Mathieson is gay.

Sattler was subsequently fired for his comments. His employer Fairfax Radio apologized to Gillard for his ‘disrespectful and irrelevant’ questions.

The radio host said he had ‘no regrets’ about the interview and said he will pursue legal action against Fairfax Radio. ‘She should have know it was coming,’ said Sattler on Friday.

Akerman extended the controversy by suggesting there was substance to the rumors, prompting Insider’s host Barrie Cassidy to call his comments ‘pathetic’, The Daily Telegraph reports.

‘You’ve just done precisely what Howard Sattler did and passed on rumors and that’s just as pathetic, quite frankly,’ said Cassidy.

Later in the show Akerman apologized to Gillard saying, ‘If the Prime Minister is watching, as she usually does, I hope she hasn’t taken any offence at anything I’ve said this morning’. He also described Mathieson as a ‘blokey bloke’.

In his column for The Daily Telegraph today Akerman described Sattler’s interview with the prime minister as ‘repugnant’ and said:

‘Quite frankly, I can’t understand why the Left gets itself so wound up about sexuality and gender issues when it publicly preaches these matters are irrelevant.’

Gillard said she will not comment on the issue because she does not want to put young girls off a career in politics by continuing the story.