Alan Jones apologises to Prime Minister

The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has added his voice to condemnation of the broadcaster Alan Jones over his comments about Julia Gillard's father.

"Alan's remarks regarding the PM were completely out of line," he said in a brief statement.

"It's good that he's recognised this and apologised for them."

Mr Abbott's comments came shortly after Mr Jones apologised to the Prime Minister for making "unacceptable comments" about her father dying of shame. Mr Jones also said he believes Ms Gillard is "quarantined" from criticism.

Mr Jones made the remarks at a Young Liberals function in Sydney last Saturday, where he also signed and made a bid for the auction item of chaff-bag jacket.

The jacket made of chaff-bags was a reference to the shock jock's earlier remark that Ms Gillard should be "put in a chaff bag and thrown into the sea".

He said the same kind of "black-humoured comments'" were similar to those made in the trenches of Gallipoli.

The radio host said he had to "man up" and admit he "got it wrong" for adding to the hurt of a grieving daughter by making the comments during a 58-minute speech at a Sydney University Liberal Club President's dinner at the Rocks.

"There are days when you just have to concede and man up and say 'you got it wrong,'" Mr Jones told reporters at 2GB headquarters this morning.

"And on this instance these are remarks which I should not have repeated. It was wrong to offer any impression that I might seem to diminish the grief that a daughter would feel for her father. I was taught by my father that if you are going to eat crow you should eat it while it's hot and therefore I felt this matter should be addressed today."

Comments by Mr Jones recorded at the dinner included:

"Every person in the caucus of the Labor Party knows that Julia Gillard is a liar, everybody. I will come to that in a moment. The old man recently died a few weeks ago of shame. To think that he has a daughter who told lies every time she stood for Parliament."

While Mr Jones said he was sorry he said he believed Ms Gillard was sheltered from the levels of criticism he often encountered.

"There seems to be a view that I have, that may not be shared, that it's fair game to say anything about me ... It does seem as though there is an attempt to quarantine Julia Gillard from all of that [criticism].

He said he had been the subject of an Twitter abuse campaign by people posting comments to the effect they hoped his prostate cancer would return.

"Today there are any number of [tweets] saying "well we hope the cancer comes back and we hope it kills you'," Jones said.

He said similar comments were made on Twitter by the wife of a cabinet minister.

Rebecca Misfud, the wife of the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, retweeted: ''Alan Jones age 71 . Avergae [sic] lifespan for an Australian male age 79. Patience my pretties. #auspol bahahaha.''

The former prime Minster Kevin Rudd tweeted: "Alan Jones' comments are lowest of the low. Abbott must dismiss Jones from Liberal Party now & ban him from future Liberal events."

Many people have taken to Twitter to condemn the broadcaster's comments.

"Alan Jones' comments about the late John Gillard were cruel and offensive. He should apologise to the PM and her family," posted Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Jones said he believed he was speaking at a private function and said it was naive of him assume there was no media.

The News Limited journalist Jonathan Marshall, who recorded the comments at the Liberal dinner, denied Mr Jones' claims that there was a restriction on reporting.

He denied using a false name to gain admittance to the function or that there was any mention of Chatham House Rules.

Mr Gillard, 83, a former psychiatric nurse died in Adelaide on September 8.

Ms Gillard flew from Russia to be with her family upon hearing of her father's death.

"Above all, he taught me to love learning and to understand its power to change lives," Ms Gillard said.

A spokesman for Ms Gillard said the Prime Minister did not intend to speak to Mr Jones about his comments. Ms Gillard is in Sydney where she is attending the NRL Grand Final.

The NSW Premier, Barry O'Farrell, said politicians' families were "innocent bystanders" and should not be dragged into political debates.

Rival broadcaster Derryn Hinch tweeted: "Alan Jones comments about PM and her father are a disgrace. Mortified to be in the same profession."

The former federal Labor leader Mark Latham said the comments were unsurprising from the radio station which had a "long consistent hate session on Gillard".

"These comments come out of a radio station culture where the shock jocks are trying to outdo each other with comments of hate and vilification about the prime minister," Mr Latham told Sky News.

Mr Latham said it was part of what former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown described as the hate media.

"This is part of the hatred of a political leader not seen since the times of (former prime minister Gough) Whitlam and it's probably even worse than that," he said.

"It's dragging down Australian democracy, no attention on issues, no attention on the battle of ideas.

"It's the politics of hate, it's directed at Gillard and it's disgraceful."

The Liberal frontbencher George Brandis said the remarks by Mr Jones were in very poor taste.

"Mr Jones, in saying what he said, speaks only for himself," he told Sky News.

Senator Brandis said the University of Sydney Liberal Club was not part of the Liberal Party structure and the party did not take responsibility for whoever the club invited to their dinners.

Asked if Jones should be banned from attending Liberal Party events, Senator Brandis said no.

"Mr Jones is a prominent Australian, he's a prominent commentator and I think that if people choose to invite him to speak to dinners and other forums, it's a free country," he said.

"That's a matter for them.

"One doesn't have to agree with any particular thing he says."

with agencies

The story Alan Jones apologises to Prime Minister first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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