Clive Palmer has publicly urged the Prime Minister to 'commit suicide', sparking widespread backlash on social media.
The Palmer United Party leader made the controversial comment when speaking on the government’s proposals regarding higher education.
Addressing reporters in Canberra, Mr Palmer chuckled while making the statement.
“So commit suicide Tony Abbott, you know,” he said.
Mr Palmer quickly clarified that he had meant political suicide, when questioned by reporters on whether his comment was responsible.
“It's suicide, political suicide to go against the will of what's good for the Australian people,” he said.
Sane Australia CEO Jack Heath said that Mr Palmer had “certainly overstepped the line”.
Mr Heath, who heads one of the country’s leading mental health organisations, said politicians such as the Member for Fairfax needed to take care in their use of language.
Listen: Sane Australia CEO Jack Heath speaks with Stephanie Anderson.
“They’re totally inappropriate, irresponsible and unacceptable,” he said.
“It’s particularly concerning that political leaders should be so caviller or careless in the use or their language, particularly around such a serious subject… They know only too well themselves about the pressures that people have to deal with, because it’s not easy being a politician these days by any stretch.”
Mr Heath said figures issued last year outlined a ten year peak in people committing suicide in Australia.
“It’s about seven a day, so it’s quite significant,” he said.
“… We need to do a hell of a lot more in reducing the stigma around mental illness.”
The comments sparked widespread backlash on social media, with Twitter users labelling them appalling and disgraceful.
Mr Palmer has since apologised over his comments online.
Mr Palmer has made light of mental health issues in public comments before, including referring to former Queensland premier Campbell Newman as “a nice little fellow with a bipolar condition (who) sometimes doesn't take his medication”.
Anyone seeking support and information about suicide prevention is encouraged to contact: