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Howard Sattler

Remember that day when a radio announcer asked John Howard if Janette was a lesbian? And that day a journalist asked Kevin Rudd about his sex life with Therese?

No?

Oh, that’s right. You don’t remember those days because they never happened. Nor would they have in a million years. It’s impossible to even imagine such a thing.

But tonight, that is exactly what happened to our Prime Minister in a live radio interview on Perth station 6PR. Well known broadcaster, Howard Sattler asked Julia Gillard whether her partner Tim was gay.

Caitlin Moran has a helpful test to work out if something is sexist. Ask this simple question: is this same thing happening to the blokes?

If it’s not, sexism is probably at play. And in this instance, it is unfathomable to consider the same question being asked of any male politician, let alone a Prime Minister.

It gets worse.

Let’s just park for a moment the fact that the question was asked. The fact that any person under any circumstances could think it’s appropriate to ask the Prime Minister such an outrageous thing. I know, but try.

Do you know WHY Howard Sattler chose to ask it? Because Tim is a hairdresser and, you know what they say about hairdressers….wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Mr Sattler? The dark ages rang and it wants its neanderthals back.

Take a look at the video:

In case you can’t see the footage, here’s how it went down.

Sattler asked Prime Minister Gillard to respond to rumours that Tim Matheison is gay under the cover of “testing out” rumours Ms Gillard has been linked to this week.

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Howard Sattler with the Prime Minister at 6PR today

“That’s not me saying it. It’s a myth,” Sattler says.

“Well, that’s absurd,” the Prime Minister responds.

“But you hear it – he must be gay, he’s a hairdresser,” Sattler says. “You’ve heard it. It’s not me saying it”.

“Well Howard, I don’t know if every silly thing that gets said is going to be repeated to me now,” the Prime Minister says. “But to all the hairdressers out there – including the men who are listening – I don’t think in life one can look at a whole profession full of different human beings and say ‘gee, we know something about everyone about everyone of those human beings.’ That’s absurd, isn’t it?” she says.

“So you can confirm that he’s not?” Sattler asks again.

“Howard, don’t be ridiculous. He’s not,” the Prime Minister says.

“But in a heterosexual relationship? That’s all I’m asking?” he repeats.

“Let me just bring you back to earth,” the Prime Minister says.

To which Sattler replies: “I’m not saying it.”

No Howard, you did say it. And it is disgraceful. After what she’s endured in the past 48 hours, no matter what you think of her politically, on a personal level you have to wonder how Julia Gillard does it. How she stares down such appalling personal slander and disrespect at a level we’ve never before seen in public life is nothing less than extraordinary.

But she shouldn’t have to.

Enough.

UPDATE: Fairfax Radio management has terminated Howard Sattler’s contract.

6PR released a statement this afternoon:

During an interview on the Drive program yesterday presenter Howard Sattler pursued a line of questioning with Prime Minister Julia Gillard that was disrespectful to the office and the person of the Prime Minister and was entirely inappropriate.

Radio 6PR apologises unreservedly to Ms Gillard and Mr Mathieson for allowing these matters to be raised on the Drive Program.

In the wake of yesterday’s interview Radio 6PR suspended Mr Sattler from broadcasting pending a review of the matter today. The station has now decided to terminate Mr Sattler’s engagement.

Mr Sattler is now threatening to sue Fairfax Radio.
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