MPs back NSW Premier, say it's 'not OK' to press politicians on abortion stances

Federal minister for women Marise Payne has blasted a 2GB radio host for quizzing the NSW premier on her personal approach to abortion.

Female MPs have blasted a Sydney radio host for asking the NSW premier if she would ever have an abortion.

Female MPs have blasted a Sydney radio host for asking the NSW premier if she would ever have an abortion. Source: AAP

Two federal female politicians have come to the defence of the NSW Premier after Gladys Berejiklian was pressed by a Sydney radio host over whether she would have an abortion.

Minister for women Marise Payne, appearing on ABC's Insiders on Sunday, said she didn't think it was appropriate to ask "sensitive health questions like that", while Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek told Nine newspapers that it was "absolutely not OK to ask someone this on live radio."

During an interview with the Premier on Friday, 2GB host Ben Fordham quizzed Ms Berejiklian if there is any circumstance where she would have an abortion. The discussion was prompted by the ongoing debate over decriminalising the procedure in NSW.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Source: AAP

"You've just mentioned your faith, and I think you've said words to the effect of 'you know what you would do according to your faith, so what would you do," he asked. 

Ms Berejiklian responded that she "would not be comfortable" with having an abortion, but added that she didn't want to speak for other women or make them "feel guilty" about going down that path.

Mr Fordham pushed the point, pressing whether the premier would terminate a pregnancy "under any circumstance."

Minister for Women Marise Payne slammed the comments during Sunday's episode of ABC Insiders.
Source: Insiders

"Heaven forbid I have not been in a situation where I have had to contemplate that ... but I can't vote according to me and my beliefs. I cast my vote because I know others haven't had the life experiences I've had," Ms Berejiklian responded.

"I don't want anyone to feel guilty about the decisions they've made because I am not in their shoes."

Ms Plibersek, who was a former Labor spokesperson for women, said on Sunday she believed Ms Berejiklian handled the questioning "gracefully."

Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek also said the comments were not acceptable and praised the premier for her "graceful" response.
Source: AAP

"The point the Premier quite rightly made is that any personal decision she might make should not be imposed on others," she said. 

Ms Berejiklian is the first woman to have been elected premier in NSW.

On Sunday afternoon, Mr Fordham took to Twitter to suggest he never asked the Premier whether she had an abortion, but that she brought it up herself. 

The backlash comes a week after 2GB lost a number of high-profile advertisers when controversial radio host Alan Jones told Prime Minister Scott Morrison to "shove a sock" down New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's throat.

2GB radio hosts, Ray Hadley, Alan Jones and Ben Fordham.
Source: AAP

The widely condemned comments, which Mr Jones has since apologised for, led Macquarie Media chairman Russell Tate to issue a warning to the shock jock, telling him he would be sacked he continued to use offensive and violent language about women. 

The breakfast radio host recognised his comments were "careless, unnecessary and wrong" and "should have been more clearly thought out", Mr Tate said.

Days after Mr Jones' initial comments, ABC's Media Watch revealed a recording of the host suggesting Mr Morrison "gets tough here with a few backhanders" during a six-minute editorial criticising Ms Ardern.

Nine newspapers reported that 2GB promoted the story as a "Ben Fordham exclusive" on its website. At the time of publishing, the story still appeared on 2GB's homepage but had lost the "exclusive" tag.

A representative of Macquarie Media, operator of 2GB, has been contacted for comment.

Published 25 August 2019 at 10:22am, updated 25 August 2019 at 5:30pm
By Maani Truu