Greg Hunt and Patricia Karvelas clash on-air

18 April 2018

Greg Hunt and Patricia Karvelas clash on-air

Health Minister Greg Hunt repeatedly questioned Radio National’s Patricia Karvelas on Tuesday in a bizarre and fiery exchange regarding gay conversion therapy.

The Minister pressed the ABC presenter on whether or not she believed in free speech after a discussion about Victorian Liberal’s plans to debate gay conversion therapy.

When asked whether the Health Minister was alarmed that the proposal received such attention in the first place, Mr Hunt responded saying he did not support gay conversion therapy nor would it become federal government policy.

The interview began to derail when Minister Hunt expressed concern about “this constant view that nobody, anywhere, is allowed to have a different view.”

Mr Hunt then continued to interrogate Ms Karvelas on her stance on free speech, saying, “As a journalist, I would hope that you believe in freedom of speech” and prompted a lengthy exchange when he asked, “What does free speech mean to you?”

Throughout the discussion, Mr Hunt became increasingly aggressive as he continued to press Ms Karvelas to answer his questions.

“I’ve answered your question, now you answer my question,” he said. “Will you just once answer a question from me? Your audience is listening, here’s your chance. Or are you afraid to stand up for freedom of speech?”

When Ms Karvelas tried to end the interview, Mr Hunt said it was
“disappointing” and accused her of refusing to participate in a real conversation about free speech.

“This was your chance and I hope you run this in full,” he said.

Ms Karvelas replied, “I am going to run it in full — every single world.”

The interview ended with Mr Hunt declaring his surprise at “the extraordinary amount of time” Mr Karvelas took to express her support of free speech.

Ms Karvelas said, “Pretty interesting exchange there”, after the interview concluded.