Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Mackay.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Mackay. Lee Constable

'Small breasts, huge thighs' menu all bad taste - readers

UPDATE: LNP candidate Mal Brough has been cleared in the menu-gate scandal after a restaurant owner admitted to making a crass joke at the expense of Prime Minster Julia Gillard.

Mr Brough, who is contesting the seat of Fisher at the federal election, was yesterday pilloried for the menu and his political rivals called for him to be disendorsed.

He yesterday denied any knowledge of the menu and said it had not been approved by any member of his staff.

The former Howard-era minister was vindicated late last night when the owner of Brisbane restaurant Richards & Richards, Joe Richards, e-mailed Mr Brough owning up to the joke.

"I have been following the rubbish that has been on the news today," the email, which was released to the media, said.

"I would like to confirm what actually happened: there were never any menus distributed on the tables or in the restaurant.

"I created a mock menu myself as a light-hearted joke, however as I said I never produced them for public distribution.

"Unfortunately a staff member saw the mock menu, and unbeknownst to myself, posted it on their Facebook.

"It now appears that a third party, for political reasons, has distributed it, yet I can reassure you that no such menu was distributed on the night.

"As you know no one at the dinner was privy to such a menu and it is so unfortunate that an in-house joke between myself and my son has caused you great problems and embarrassment."

University of Southern Queensland Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas has urged all politicians to focus on policy and agenda issues, rather than dirty politics such as the menu scandal which continues to dominate headlines.

"Leaders should be judged on their dedication and achievements rather than any particular characteristic," Prof Thomas said.

"I have seen prominent figures from both sides of the political divide ridiculed for factors such as weight and looks when the political focus should instead be on outcomes.

"Isn't it time to put aside petty politics and pay more attention to such things as the future landscape of the country and who is best placed to lead Australia for at least the next three years?"

Toowoomba Councillor Nancy Sommerfield yesterday also denounced the menu scandal, but would not comment in depth on the issue.

"I think it is in poor taste," she said.

EARLIER: Readers have voiced their disgust at the 'deeply offensive and derogatory personal attack' on Prime Minister Julia Gillard via a dinner menu used at a politician's fundraiser.

Fisher candidate Mal Brough was yesterday embroiled in a sexist political row after a photo of an offensive dinner menu used at the politician's fundraiser surfaced via Twitter.

Mr Brough said he "didn't mean any harm by it" but was "deeply apologetic" of the menu with a dish called the Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail described as "small breasts, huge thighs" and further offensive language.

Here is what our readers had to say:

  • Question is how would he feel if those comments were made about his mother, wife or daughter?
  • Hate the party, not the person. After all, politicians are just monkeys dancing to the organ grinder.
  • Misogyny is not acceptable from the people we elect to represent us. He targeted the Prime Minister but he could have been speaking about a woman like me. Women are insulted by these comments and we won't forget.
  • This is inappropriate. Looking at the menu, there were fair political attacks on Rudd, Swan, Crean and the Greens. But rather than a political attack on Gillard, it was a personal attack.
  • Ed, politicians have and always will continue to make mistakes and yet, Mr Brough has apologised. However; has the Prime Minister withdrawn her questionable comments - made yesterday? The Leader of the Federal Opposition too, has responded and I'm more interested in policies, not cheap shots.

Groom MP Ian Macfarlane would not comment directly and instead referred to comments made by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

Mr Macfarlane's media adviser said he agreed with Mr Abbott.

Mal Brough
Mal Brough Warren Lynam

"I have spoken to Ian and he said he agrees with Tony Abbott that there is no place in politics or in the political and social debate for the type of comment that was printed on the menu," they said.

Ms Gillard called for Mr Brough to be disendorsed, and linked the menu to the gender debate which dominated politics this week.

In a separate incident, Socceroos coach Holger Osieck overshadowed the team's defeat of Jordan with a sexist slur that "women should shut up in public". The comment was made at a press conference after the game.

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