PM asked if partner is gay in 'baffling' interview

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

Controversial Perth radio host Howard Sattler has set off a Twitter storm after asking the Australian Prime Minister to confirm her partner's sexuality in a candid and "baffling" live interview.

The polarising 6PR Drive host on Thursday queried rumors over the sexuality of Julia Gillard's hairdresser husband Tim Mathieson 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."

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

"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.

"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," she said.

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

In a tweet that had been retweeted more than 60 times within an hour Sky News reporter Mike Hopkin wrote:

"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?"

Mr Sattler has since made an on air apology "to anyone who was offended" by his interview with the Prime Minister on instruction from "the management of this radio station."

"I asked those questions based on the fact the Prime Minister's office had said to me it could be a candid interview," he said.

"If you think I went too far you're entitled to have that view.

"For those of you who think I went too far I apologise, the management wanted me to do that and I have just done that."

882 6PR is owned by Fairfax media, the owners of WAtoday.

This story PM asked if partner is gay in 'baffling' interview first appeared on WA Today.