Mathieson has been keeping a low profile in recent months after being identified by Gillard’s advisors as something of a political liability following a couple of slightly embarrassing incidents, including greeting the Queen with the words, “You again!”
But in a rare public appearance the veteran hairdresser turned full-time political spouse managed to put his foot in it again.
The West Indies cricket team were enjoying a reception at The Lodge, the Aussie PM’s official residence in Canberra, prior to a traditional match against the Prime Minister’s XI when Mathieson took to the mic.
The controversy arose when, talking about prostate cancer, he said: “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 for a small female Asian doctor is probably the best way.”
Writing in The Age, National Affairs Editor, Tony Wright, concluded that “in three words, he’d contravened an expansive sweep of the proposed anti-discrimination decrees. Small (sizeist, you might think); female (sexist), Asian (racist). We won’t even go near digital penetration”.
However popular opinion appears to be on Mathieson’s side, with 65 per cent of those quizzed saying that it was either ‘political correctness gone too far’ or ‘that the joke was unforunate but brought attention to an important issue’.