Abbott unamused by 'gays on boats' poster

Last updated 13:46 01/06/2012

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Australian opposition Leader Tony Abbott says posters that depict him as racist, homophobic and sexist are "tacky and not funny".

The posters, displayed inside the Sydney electorate office of Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, carry the slogans: "I'm threatened by boats and gays. Gays on boats are my worst nightmare" and also "Note to Ladies: Make me a sandwich".

Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop told the country's parliament yesterday she was outraged by the posters and called for  Plibersek to apologise.

The health minister issued a statement saying the posters were satire and that she had asked the staff member to take them down.

Abbott told the Nine Network Tv channel this morning: "It's tacky, it's not funny and Tanya Plibersek should be better than that and the Labor Party should lift its game."

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey says the news of the posters capped an awful week for politicians and that all MPs have to do better.

"It's been an awful week for the profession of politics and we just have to get on with the job," he told the Seven Network.

Hockey said  Abbott was being pragmatic about the posters.

"He's offended but he just gets on with it,"  Hockey said.

"We've just got to get on with the job."

Environment minister Tony Bourke agreed that parliament needed to lift its game and focus on robust debate.

"If the aggression is aggression and, sort of, a lot of passion in a policy debate, that part of it, I think's good," he said.

"When it gets personal I don't think we need it."

- The Age

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