Tony Abbott's wink at sex worker call

07:34, May 21 2014

It's the wink that sparked a thousand tweets.

Appearing on ABC Radio this morning, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott was confronted by something not even the canniest spin doctor could have predicted: a call from a peeved pensioner who works on an adult sex line.

Gloria, from Warburton, was concerned about a new A$7 fee on GP visits and the increased cost of medication.
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"I would like to ask you if you'd like your mother or your grandmother to be in my situation," she said.

"I'm a 67-year-old pensioner with three chronic incurable medical conditions - two life-threatening. I just survive on around $400 a fortnight once I pay my rent and I work on an adult sex line to make ends meet. That's the only way I can do it.

"What do you suggest I cut out Mr Abbott? Food, electricity, firewood, Christmas and birthday presents to my grandchildren? Or should I just die and get out of your way?"

What those listening at home didn't know - and Abbott apparently forgot - was that the interview was being filmed.

Video of Abbott winking at radio host John Faine when Gloria mentioned her occupation went viral as soon as it was uploaded online. Some detected a smirk as well.

ABBOTT'S A WINKER #tonyabbott #abbotsawinker

#TonyAbbott shows how much he cares about Australians facing adversity https://t.co/VjpXy7jGu8

Sarah Hanson-Young refers to Mr Abbott as a 'total creep' over his wink. Oh dear, Miss Hanson- Young really? a tad childish don't you think?

Sarah Hanson-Young refers to Mr Abbott as a 'total creep' over his wink. Oh dear, Miss Hanson- Young really? a tad childish don't you think?— LIBNATCHAT PAGE (@LIBNATCHATPAGE) May 21, 2014

The Prime Minister's office, aware this was a bad look, quickly tried to hose the story down.

A spokeswoman moved through the parliamentary press gallery assuring reporters Abbott did not wink to pass judgment on the caller. He was assuring Faine he was happy to proceed with the call.

The ABC, like Abbott, was not aware Gloria was a sex line worker before putting her call to air.

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The Age