Comedian Josh Thomas has blasted federal politician Bob Katter over his position on homosexuals in a heated exchange on the ABC's Q&A program.
Bob Katter was visibly uncomfortable during a heated exchange last night with comedian Josh Thomas over the politician’s earlier claims that no homosexuals lived in his electorate.
Katter and Thomas appeared on last night’s mental health-themed episode of Q&A when an audience member asked Katter if it was appropriate for him to talk about mental health without acknowledging gay people.
The Katter's Australian Party leader said he had been "attributed with having some hostility" over the issue in the past but that criticism didn’t stack up today.
When quizzed over whether his reluctance to recognise gay people could be detrimental to their mental health, the politician said his priority was to help those struggling.
But comedian Josh Thomas cut in, frustrated with Katter’s reluctance to tackle the question.
“I think the problem is that you say it’s not a priority but you talk about it quite a bit and when you do talk about it, you say awful things,” he said. “So, that’s the problem.”
He ridiculed a claim made by Katter in 1989 that there were no homosexuals in his northern Queensland electorate.
"They exist," Thomas said, "There’s an app called Grindr, I’ll put it on your phone."
Katter said while he had been guilty of "cracking jokes" on the issue, he hadn’t made similar public comments in years.
But Thomas continued to press the politician.
"You've got an ad – you can still see it on YouTube – from The Katter Australia Party, about how homosexuals are evil. You said they don’t exist," he said.
"For you to turn around and say you haven’t said homophobic things is just ridiculous.
"All you need to do…She asked the question you say, 'You know what, I've said some stuff in the past, it was a mistake, I understand now; it's hurting people’s mental health; it's part of the problem, not part of the solution. I'm sorry. Hooray for gay people. Here's some glitter'."
But Katter remained defiant, saying, "If you'd listened to my answer to the question, I thought that was exactly what I said," to laughter from the audience.
In 2012, Bob Katter expressed public regret for the anti-gay marriage campaign ads referenced by Thomas, describing them as the "crowning glory of all mistakes".
Viewers were quick to react to the exchange on Twitter.