Abbott ends tough day with 'bull****' rebuke
Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has been caught swearing at his Labor opponent Nicola Roxon.
Mr Abbott arrived half-an-hour late for his National Press Club debate on health, capping off an already difficult day on which he had to apologise to asbestosis sufferer Bernie Banton and defer the start of his Mersey Hospital takeover in Tasmania.
"I thought if our timetables held, it would be possible to be here in time for the live telecast," Mr Abbott said.
"Unfortunately when you're making public announcements, when you've got lots of announcements from journalists at those public announcements, timetables get put out and that's why I was late."
Posing for photographs with Ms Roxon at the end of the debate, the pair got into a testy exchange.
Ms Roxon told the Minister he could have made it on time if he had wanted to. Mr Abbott replied: "That's bull****. You're being deliberately unpleasant."
Mr Abbott apologised several times for his delayed arrival from Melbourne adding that "this has been a big day for apologising for me".
He called Mr Banton this morning to apologise but denied he was told to do so by Prime Minister John Howard.