Actress Miriam Margolyes was passionate about the economy and anti-Semitism on ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night – and when asked to describe Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in one word, she didn’t hold back.
“I think he is a tit,” the Harry Potter star said.
The naturalised Australian was joined on the panel by Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, Centre for Independent Studies’ Trisha Jha, and Jamila Rizvi, editor-in-chief of Mamamia.
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The inequality gap, anti-Semitism, the government’s criticism of Human Right Commission president Gillian Triggs, and the cost of childcare were high on the agenda during Monday night’s program.
Ms Margolyes was strong on her rebuke of anti-Semitism saying: “Anti-semitism is a rotten thing. It’s an ignorant, stupid, horrible thing. As is anti-Muslim feeling.”
“They have to be together.”
The Government faced criticism last year over its proposed paid parental scheme which would pay up to $50,000 to mothers of newborn babies.
Ms Rizvi and Mr Frydenberg butted heads on the issue.
“We are spending more money on childcare, $7 billion today,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“But a huge number of programs have been de-funded,” Ms Rizvi replied.
“We’re putting more in,” Mr Frydenberg responded.
When discussion turned to Professor Triggs, Mr Frydenberg backed his government’s handling of the matter.
Mr Frydenberg said Prof Triggs knew as early as 2012 there needs to be an inquiry into children in detention, however waited until after the election to release the findings.
However, panellists Ms Jha and Ms Rizvi say they believe the “attacks” on Proff Triggs was like ‘shooting the messenger’.
“We haven’t asked her to leave; she wasn’t offered another international post,” Mr Frydenberg says.
When Mr Frydenberg was asked why the government had decided to drop a controversial scheme for a GP co-payment, he said it was due to lack of public support for the plan, and difficulties in the Senate.
“There there were a lot of lessons learnt out of the first budget, in regards to the GP co-payment, there will be significant change to our health policy on that respect,” he said.