Steve Gibbons calls Liberal MPs 'douchebag' and 'bimbo'
A LABOR backbencher has been forced to apologise after he called Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop a "narcissistic bimbo" on Twitter.
It came as Ms Bishop for the third day straight used all of the Coalition's question time allocation to quiz Prime Minister Julia Gillard about the Australian Workers' Union slush fund affair.
Well, almost all of the question time.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott opened question time, amid jeers from the government benches, by asking Ms Gillard about Australia's decision to abstain from the UN vote on granting Palestine observer status. It was Mr Abbott's first and only question in this, the final week of Parliament for the year.
Earlier on Wednesday a tweet posted by Bendigo MP Steve Gibbons, which was also directed at Mr Abbott, caused a furore in Canberra.
"Libs are led by a gutless douchebag and a narcissistic bimbo who aren't fit to be MPs let alone PM and Deputy. Both should be sacked," the tweet read.
Mr Gibbons followed it with this: "Apologies to those offended by my use of the word 'Bimbo'. I'll replace that word with 'Fool'."
By late on Wednesday morning both tweets had been deleted, with Mr Gibbons posting an apology.
"To all of those offended by my tweet posts this morning - I unreservedly apologise," it read.
But Opposition spokeswoman for the status of women Michaelia Cash called on Ms Gillard to "take whatever action she deems appropriate" in dealing with Mr Gibbons.
She said at the very least he should be stood down as deputy chair of the Standing Committee on Regional Australia.
Senator Cash said Ms Gillard had set the "standards of accountability on this type of behaviour", a reference to the Prime Minister's "misogyny and sexism" speech in October.
"It is the Prime Minister who said I'm going to call out sexism and misogyny wherever I see it," Senator Cash said.
"If the Prime Minister fails to take action this will expose the sheer hypocrisy and shameful double standards of the Australian Labor Party."
She also called on ministers Julie Collins and Tanya Plibersek to publicly condemn Mr Gibbons.
Meanwhile, Ms Bishop denied she had talked on the phone with former AWU official and "self-confessed" fraudster Ralph Blewitt.
Ms Bishop, who has spent this week pursuing Ms Gillard over the AWU slush fund affair, admitted on Tuesday she had met with Mr Blewitt for 10 minutes in Melbourne last week.
But she was forced to issue a statement on Wednesday morning after a report in Fairfax media suggested she had spoken with Mr Blewitt by phone last Wednesday.
"I have never telephoned Ralph Blewitt and he has never telephoned me," the statement read.
"I have had one confirmed conversation with Ralph Blewitt when I met him briefly in Melbourne last Friday."
Ms Bishop said she was driving in Perth early last week when she received a call from former radio host Michael Smith.
Mr Smith said he was having dinner with someone who wanted to speak with Ms Bishop.
"That person did not identify themselves and said he was pleased that the AWU fraud was being raised in parliament," she said.
"I said that would continue to be the case and my mobile phone dropped out at that point.
"Michael Smith did not call back and I do not know to whom I spoke."