Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Labor MP Steve Gibbons calls Julie Bishop a bimbo then says sorry.
But Steve Gibbons argued he was just stating the obvious, and merely substituted "bimbo" with the word "fool".
Mr Gibbons, the Labor MP for the Victorian seat of Bendigo, started aTwitter furore today when he attacked the Opposition leadership of Tony Abbott, and Ms Bishop in the tweet which appeared to be in response to Ms Bishop leading questioning of Prime Minister Julia Gillard over the AWU affair.
"Libs are led by a gutless douchebag and a narcissistic bimbo who aren’t fit to be MP’s let alone PM and Deputy. Both should be sacked," Mr Gibbons tweeted.
To one critic he later tweeted, "Just stating the obvious mate!"
But he later repeated the comment with "bimbo" removed and "fool" substituted.
The original tweet appears to have been deleted.
"Apologies to those offended by my use of the word Bimbo. I’ll replace that word with 'Fool'," he said.
The tweet comes weeks after Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised to call out sexism wherever she saw it.
And the Coalition has been quick to demand Ms Gillard stand Mr Gibbons aside from his role as Deputy Chair of the regional Australia parliamentary committee.
"She has made this the issue when she put fairly and squarely on the record she was going to call out sexism and misogyny wherever she sees it, she also says people in public life should be held to account,” Opposition status of women spokeswoman Michaelia Cash said today.
“Mr Gibbons, on any analysis, has made a completely inappropriate statement, he’s made a sexist and inappropriate statement. This is now a test for the PM to see if she meant what she said.”
Outcry over the comments could also distract from the Government's intention to hold Ms Bishop to account for claims she made as she attempted to link Ms Gillard to mis-use of a fund set up by union officials 17 years ago.
One senior female Labor minister has spoken out against Mr Gibbons.
Jenny Macklin told Sky: "It's inappropriate, no one should use that language about other Members of Parliament."
Western Sydney Labor MP Ed Husic joined Ms Macklin in criticising Mr Gibbons.
"Steve, I love you , you're way out of line,'' he said.
"I wouldn't do it and I wish he hadn't. I have a whole host of concern or criticism of people opposite. I don't use that phrase. Steve can explain why he did.''