Monday, October 25, 2010

Shoes, Hicks interview and heckles thrown at former PM John Howard

FORMER prime minister John Howard has had shoes thrown at him during an episode of the ABC's Q&A. 

In echoes of the infamous incident in which former US president George Bush had two shoes thrown at him during a trip to Iraq in 2008, Mr Howard came under attack as he defended Australia's involvement in the war.

After explaining that he supported the US-led invasion based on the intelligence available at the time, Mr Howard was approached by the protester who removed his shoes and threw them in his direction.

As they failed to hit their target, the man shouted words to the effect: "That is for Iraqi dead."
A female audience member then shouted: "You've got blood on your hands", before walking out of the studio.
The man was led away by ABC staff

Mr Howard appeared unfazed.
"It's all right, don't worry. Forget it, forget it. Relax," he said, turning to show host Tony Jones.
An audience member then told Mr Howard "if that's all they've got to throw at you, you've got nothing to worry about".
Speaking on the ABC's Lateline immediately after Q&A, Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said someone like Mr Howard would always divide opinion.
"He's a dynamic character, one of the greatest prime ministers this nation will ever see," Senator Joyce said.
"And people who are dynamic and people who have presence will always have the people who love them and the people who dislike them.

"And every crowd's got a fool and you had one their in your studio tonight."
It's not the first time Mr Howard has had shoes thrown at him.

He reportedly had a Doc Martin boot hurled at him as he prepared to deliver a speech to Cambridge University in 2009.

During Monday night's television appearance Mr Howard backed current federal Liberal leader Tony Abbott to lead the party into the next election, saying he had earned the right.
"I think Tony Abbott has earned right to lead the Liberal party without challenge," Mr Howard told the audience.

In a pre-taped video aired during the show, Australian-born former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks asked him why his government had allowed him to be detained for five-and-a-half years.
"David Hicks trained with the Taliban, David Hicks was associated with groups that were behaving in a manner that was completely opposed to the interests of this country," Mr Howard said.

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