The shadow minister jerked back in her seat, and just stared blankly when community leader Simon Sheikh collapsed beside her during a live TV recording, banging his head on the desk with a loud thump.

In fairness, it was unclear if Sheikh, the director of GetUp! Was playing a joke.

Nonetheless, climate change minister Greg Combet, who was also there, managed to raise an alarm while Mirabella continued to not react.

“I’m not quite sure what Simon’s doing there, is he OK? He’s not OK,” Combet said as he rushed to his aid with TV crew.

Mirabella’s inaction has led to a barrage of criticism on Twitter, with her name trending on the social networking site.

Columnist Joe Hilderbrand posted: “Oh, and if I’m ever in need of first aid I really hope the first person on the scene isn’t Sophie Mirabella.”

 Another user wrote: “Watching Simon Sheikh passing out is horrible. But worse is seeing Sophie Mirabella recoil in horror, rather than help.”

 A spokesperson for Mirabella defended the MP, saying she was “in shock”.

 “She was unaware at the time that it was a medical emergency,” the spokesperson said.

 Mirabella and the politicians were on a panel for ABC TV discussing the new carbon tax.

 It later emerged Sheikh was suffering a severe bout of the flu. He was taken to hospital but has since got the all-clear.

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