Federal Politics

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A first for the PM but abusers take advantage

A FACEBOOK question-and-answer session hosted by Julia Gillard descended into personal abuse of the Prime Minister as the Alan Jones controversy continued.

But Ms Gillard's office said the event - the first time a federal politician had engaged in such a session - was a popular success and only a ''tiny minority'' of comments had been negative.

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Participants made sexist and at times lecherous comments about Ms Gillard. And one asked: ''How's your dad?''

The event came as Jones hosted his first 2GB breakfast show without advertising, after the Macquarie Radio Network temporarily suspended all ads for his segment. Advertisers had abandoned the show in droves after it was revealed he told a function of the Sydney University Liberal Club two weeks ago that Ms Gillard's father had died of shame at his daughter's ''lies''.

But while Jones's comments drew widespread disgust and consternation about the deteriorating tone of politics, only some Facebook users condemned the man who made the comment about Ms Gillard's father.

She had called the event to talk to constituents about the government's desire to implement the Gonski school funding reforms. She also answered questions on NAPLAN, teacher quality and supporting regional and disadvantaged children.


A government spokesman said: ''This is the first federal question-and-answer session by a major political figure in Australia. It is the first of its kind.

''There was a huge response in terms of questions. There's been a lot more that have been tabled for future use. There is a tiny minority of offensive comments and they are moderated after being published.''

After answering questions for about an hour, Ms Gillard signed off. But then some users heaped abuse on her. Nicholas Frampton wrote: ''McPiss off you red-headed bloody McClown.'' Clifford Cowl, told Ms Gillard: ''Get my dinner ready'', while ''Adam Subwoofer Hodgson'' descended to obscenities.

It is not the first time abusive material has appeared on the Prime Minister's page.

Last week a man called for the government to ''bring in anal probing for all boat people and people claiming benefits''.

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