Howard Sattler suggested to Gillard that her partner of seven years, Tim Mathieson, had to be homosexual because he was a hairdresser. The DJ was suspended and then sacked by Fairfax Radio, which apologised for the ‘disrespectful’ questioning. Sattler, a veteran commercial radio talkback host in Perth, told Gillard he wanted to clear up myths and innuendo about her and then said: “Tim’s gay. That’s not what I’m saying, that’s a myth.”
“Well that’s absurd,” Gillard responded. “Yeah, but you hear it, he must be gay, he’s a hairdresser,” Sattler said. Gillard, whose partner is a former hairdresser and is divorced with children, said it was “absurd” to assume that all male hairdressers were gay.
Sattler then persisted: “You can confirm that he’s not?” “Oh Howard, don’t be ridiculous, of course not,” Gillard said. “But you’re in a heterosexual relationship? That’s all I’m asking,” Sattler asked. Gillard responded: “Howard let me just bring you back to earth, you and I have just talked about me and Tim living at the lodge [the prime ministerial residence], we live there together as a couple, you know that.”
The radio station 6PR, owned by Fairfax Media, initially suspended Sattler but later sacked him for his “disrespectful” behaviour. The interview followed days after a sexist mock menu at an opposition fundraising dinner in which a dish labelled Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail was described as Small Breasts, Huge Thighs.