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Gillard dismisses 'Tim's gay' myth

6PR host Howard Sattler suspended after asking Prime Minister Julia Gillard 'absurd' question about the sexuality of Tim Mathieson.

PT1M37S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2o7tt 620 349

Perth shock jock Howard Sattler has been suspended from his 6PR Drive program after a bizarre interview with the Prime Minister in which he asked if her partner Tim Mathieson was gay.

6PR management has apologised to Julia Gillard and says the questions posed by the host were "disrespectful and irrelevant", and have suspended Mr Sattler pending an internal inquiry.

6PR host Howard Sattler interviewing Julia Gillard in the studio.

6PR host Howard Sattler interviewing Julia Gillard in the studio. Photo: Courtesy Channel Nine

The polarising host on Thursday queried rumors over the sexuality of Julia Gillard's hairdresser partner after reminding her he was promised "a candid" interview.

The interview ventured into personal terrain when Ms Gillard was asked why she had not married.

"Personal choice and I think the fact that I'm not married shows obviously I think that you can have a relationship that is committed and full of love and full of significance in your life without being married," Ms Gillard said after earlier restating her opposition to same sex marriage.

"OK but have you been proposed to at all? Come on Tim, pull the ring out son," Mr Sattler followed.

Ms Gillard said she would probably tell her defacto partner "I'm fine," if he did propose, but rejected Mr Sattler's comments "people said" she was "against marriage".

"It's very common for people to live together without being married," she said.

"In a modern nation like ours full of modern families of all shapes and sizes why shouldn't you have a modern family in the lodge."

The interview then took a strange turn when Mr Sattler asked the Prime Minister if he could test some "myths, rumours, snide jokes and innuendos" that she had been on the receiving end of.

"Tim's gay," the radio host said. "That's not what I'm saying, that's a myth."

"Well that's absurd," Ms Gillard responded.

"Yeah but you hear it, he must be gay, he's a hairdresser," Mr Sattler said.

"But you've heard it, it's not me saying it."

Ms Gillard said she did not expect "every silly thing that's been said" to be repeated during the interview.

"To all the hairdressers out there including the men who are listening I don't think in life one can actually look at a whole profession full of different human beings and say gee we know something about every one of those human beings I mean it's absurd isn't is," she said.

Mr Sattler wasn't done.

"You can confirm that he's not?" he asked.

"Oh Howard don't be ridiculous, of course not," the Prime Minister countered.

"But you're in a heterosexual relationship? That's all I'm asking," Sattler continued.

"Howard let me just bring you back to earth, you and I have just talked about me and Tim living at the lodge, we live there together as a couple, you know that," Ms Gillard said.

"Yes on the internet there are lots of what I've referred to in the past as nut jobs, people who peddle and circulate vile and offensive things."

"Awful things," Mr Sattler responded before the interview turned to the upcoming election.

Sattler also asked about "menu-gate", claiming the PM was "hung up" on the issue.

Ms Gillard said she was "more than happy" to move on and talk about something else.

She was also asked whether she should apologise over the matter, given Liberal candidate Mal Brough had claimed he knew nothing of the offending document. The answer was "no".

Sattler later apologised to those who thought he had gone too far.

"The management of this station ... has instructed me to apologise to anyone who was offended by my interview with the prime minister, during which I asked questions about her private life," he said.

"I asked those questions based on the fact that the prime minister's office had said to me that it could be a candid interview, we asked for a candid interview, and included personal activities of the prime minister and her personal life.

"They agreed to a candid interview.

"Now, if you think I went too far, you're entitled to have that view. I apologise.

"The management want me to do that and I have just done that."

6PR management later issued a statement saying: "The prime minister answered Mr Sattler's questions with dignity and patience.

"Fairfax Radio Network management has reviewed the interview and considers that the questions posed by Mr Sattler were disrespectful and irrelevant to the political debate.

"The management of Fairfax Radio Network also extends its sincere apologies to the prime minister and Mr Mathieson.

"Mr Sattler has been suspended from broadcasting on 6PR pending an internal inquiry."

Moments after the interview aired Sky News reporter Mike Hopkin wrote on Twitter:

"Howard Sattler seriously just asked the PM to confirm that Tim isn't gay. Baffling interview."

The replies to the tweet also flooded in. "Good god," wrote one woman. "What's happening to this country?" another wrote.

ABC WA News Editor Kim Jordan tweeted "Old Perth radio guy asks PM if her partner's gay... because he's a hair dresser. Alzheimers?"

882 6PR is owned by Fairfax Media .

With AAP