Alan Jones opens up to Anh Do about his 'died of shame' comment.
Alan Jones opens up to Anh Do about his 'died of shame' comment.

Alan Jones’ rare admission of regret

Alan Jones is not a man who expresses regret often.

But that's exactly what the controversial 2GB broadcaster did on Anh Do's Brush With Fame when asked about his vile comments regarding former prime minister Julia Gillard.

In 2011 Jones said on his radio show that Ms Gillard should be "put in a chaff bag" and dumped at sea.

He offered a half-hearted apology later in the year after an address to the National Press Club, saying, "Sometimes in the heat of what you're doing - you're going at a 100 miles per hour - these things are said.

"We don't always say things that are right, we don't always say things that are fair, (but) we should try to."

 

Alan Jones tried to explain some of the shocking comments he’d made about Julia Gillard to Anh Do.
Alan Jones tried to explain some of the shocking comments he’d made about Julia Gillard to Anh Do.

 

Jones' most shocking insult to the ex-prime minister came a year later in 2012, not long after the sudden death of Ms Gillard's father.

Jones joked at a private Sydney University Liberal club dinner: "Every person in the caucus of the Labor Party knows that Julia Gillard is a liar, everybody. I will come to that in a moment. The old man recently died a few weeks ago of shame. To think that he has a daughter who told lies every time she stood for parliament."

He also suggested that Ms Gillard had benefited in the polls as a result of her emotional speech in parliament in which she paid tribute to her father, John.

"Of course she's ahead in preferred prime minister (polls)," he said. "She cries because her father died, she's on the news every day."

Jones' speech was secretly recorded by a journalist who later made the comments public and a wave of outrage followed.

Alan Jones was heavily criticised for the comment he made at the private dinner.
Alan Jones was heavily criticised for the comment he made at the private dinner.

The 2GB host was condemned by both sides of parliament with the then opposition leader, Tony Abbott, saying, "Alan's remarks regarding the PM were completely out of line".

Bob Carr, who was the Foreign Minister in 2012, said: "I've heard indecent things in politics but never something as thoroughly indecent as this".

A petition calling for Jones to be sacked received more than 35,000 signatures and Macquarie Radio incurred losses of $1.5 million in ad revenue as sponsors distanced themselves from Jones.

The broadcaster apologised in a lengthy press conference the day after the "died of shame" comment was made public, saying, "The comments were, in the light of everything, unacceptable. They merit an apology by me."

He added: "I spoke without notes for 58 minutes (at the Young Liberals dinner), I have no idea the material that I covered.

"I just say it as I see it. It was a raucous night and everyone was into it. But that's not an explanation, not an excuse."

When asked about the controversy on Anh's Brush With Fame, Jones claimed a man had made the "joke" about Gillard's dad to him earlier in the day when he was at his godson's birthday party.

"I just repeated the story," he said about his speech at the dinner. "It wasn't my joke."

 

Julia Gillard with her mother Moira and father John in 2007.
Julia Gillard with her mother Moira and father John in 2007.

 

He added that the comment should never have been made public in the first place.

"A person has got himself into this private gathering, secretly recorded my speech, which is against the law, a criminal offence, but because it was Alan Jones no one cared about that," he told Do.

"When it became public I rang Julia (Gillard) and she didn't take my call. I publicly apologised and I legitimately apologised.

"I'm not apologising for the fact that I said it because it was said privately and you can't withdraw any of that, it's done. But at the same time, the fact that it was made public and had the potential to hurt her feelings and all the rest of it, then you're obligated to offer an apology and that apology was sincere.

"I think you always regret if you visit hurt upon anybody, that's not what you've got the power of the microphone to do."

Alan Jones would still like to apologise to Julia Gillard personally one day.
Alan Jones would still like to apologise to Julia Gillard personally one day.

 

Jones told Do that he hasn't spoken to Ms Gillard since he made the comment but hopes to bury the hatchet in the future.

"We had good relationships before that, and I hope one day I'll be able to speak to her and say, 'Listen, I'm sorry about it. I didn't intend it the way you saw it,'" Jones said.

Anh's Brush with Fame screens Wednesdays at 8pm on the ABC and ABC iview


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