THE ABC has apologised today after it broadcast an anti-gay jibe against a Liberal MP. A hailstorm of criticism erupted today after a Q&A panel session with federal member Christopher Pyne last night ran a viewer's tweet: "Does Pyne really light up when he's talking about men in uniform?"
Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Sarah Rogan said the ABC should know better. "It is a cheap shot," she said. "It is not one of the worst levels of discrimination but it is stereotyping and playing on gay men in particular."
Q&A publicist Rachel Baugh rejected accusations of homophobia and said the national broadcaster was sorry for the tweet. "Q&A has a complex moderation process that deals with over 19,000 tweets during the course of the live program," she said. "This tweet was one that unfortunately went to air and shouldn't have. "The program agreed it was inappropriate and has contacted Christopher Pyne's office to apologise."
Though he is married with children, Mr Pyne has been dogged for years by sideswipes over his sexuality. In 2009, Kevin Rudd referred to him as "the member for skirt that is, the member for Sturt".
When Mr Pyne was appointed manager of Opposition business, Julia Gillard expressed surprise that the then Coalition leader, Malcolm Turnbull, hadn't given the job to Tony Abbott instead. Faced with a choice between a doberman and a poodle, she said, Mr Turnbull had opted for the poodle.