Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s partner, Tim Mathieson, has had to apologise after making a tasteless joke about prostate cancer examinations and Asian women. The incident occurred during a speech Mr Mathieson was giving to the members of the West Indian cricket team at The Lodge ahead of the Prime Minister’s XI cricket match yesterday.
“We can get a blood test for it, but the digital examination is the only true way to get a correct reading on your prostate, so make sure you go and do that, and perhaps look[ing] for a small female Asian doctor is probably the best way,” he said.
Mr Mathieson later agreed that his remarks were in poor taste. He went on to explain “[I was] trying to raise awareness about prostate cancer and the need for men to have regular checks and the importance of early detection. It was meant as a joke… [and] I apologise for any offence caused.”
Opposition leader Tony Abbot called for Julia Gillard to “deal with this person”, and Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Lowe, told ABC Radio that the joke was harmful to the prostate cancer cause.
Australian Men’s Shed Association Executive Officer David Helmers, on the other hand, said that Mr Mathieson had done a lot of great work promoting men’s health, and said “we’ve all been known to make inappropriate comments sometimes”.
Watch the video and read the original article at The Age website
To find out more about prostate cancer read Demystifying prostate cancer
For some practical help, read Top ten tips for prostatectomy patients
As some of you regular readers may be aware, I’m a stickler for political correctness (see also: feminist lefty). But as far as I’m concerned, this hoo-haa about Tim Mathieson’s comment has been blown way out of proportion.
Give the bloke a break. He’s a hairdresser, not a politician, and being the partner of our Prime Minister did not magically turn him into a good public speaker. In the now-infamous video he is clearly sweating and uncomfortable, and the whole awkward mess looks like it’s the result of an acute bout of nerves.
Yes, the joke he made was tasteless. Yes, his better half probably gave him one heck of a serve about it as soon as the cameras disappeared. No, I don’t condone sexist, racist or sizeist jokes. But Tim is an active ambassador for men’s health, an issue which gets overlooked far too often, and I think that the Opposition is just going for a few cheap points by targeting him.
I also think that the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia complaining about his help is a bit rich, since they’ve had more free media coverage in the last few days than I imagine they have had for the whole of 2012. Prostate cancer is a very serious issue, but if political correctness demands that we be grim and heavy-hearted about it (and I say this having gone through the process with a close family member) then we can all look forward to the world’s most depressing awareness campaign.
What do you think? Was Tim Mathieson way out of line, or was this just a moment of poor judgement which may have, unintentionally, done more good than harm?