Tony Abbott caught winking to radio presenter about poverty-stricken grandmother who ‘works on sex line to make ends meet’
The Australian Prime Minister has been branded a “creep” after he was caught on camera responding with a wink to a grandmother who said she had to work on a phone sex line.
Taking part in a radio phone-in session, Tony Abbott was confronted by the angry caller who said she was “a 67-year-old pensioner with three chronic, incurable medical conditions”.
Yet when the woman, who identified herself as Gloria from Warburton, said she had to “work on an adult sex line to make ends meet”, Mr Abbott smirked and then winked at the male ABC Melbourne presenter Jon Faine.
Video footage of the incident has emerged which shows the Liberal Party leader then look directly at the camera and, apparently remembering he is being filmed, compose his face into a more serious expression.
Gloria went on to attack Mr Abbott for his strict austerity budget which, she said she had calculated, would cost her an additional $850 AUS (£460) a year because of a reduction in government subsidies for healthcare.
“What do you suggest I cut out Mr Abbott? Food, electricity, firewood, Christmas [and] birthday presents to my grandchildren?” she asked. “Or should we all just die and get out of your way?”
The Prime Minister responded that he understood Gloria was “doing it tough” and, now taking the call more seriously, claimed that she would actually end up better off because his government was abolishing the carbon tax, a levy on fuel.
But it was not enough to convince the Green party senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who criticised Mr Abbott following the incident.
She said: “Rather than taking seriously her concerns of poverty and illness he gave a wink and a smirk, and all I have to say to the Prime Minister on this is what a creep. What a total creep.”
The wink also attracted a huge number of comments on social media, and “Tony Abbott” and “Melbourne” started trending on Twitter in Australia.
A producer from the show sought to distance ABC Melbourne from any possible blame for the incident, with Dan Ziffer tweeting: “We were as surprised as anyone!”
A spokesperson for Mr Abbott later told ABC that the wink had been an attempt to “reassure” the presenter that he was happy to continue taking the call.
Independent News Service