Mirabella hits back at Q&A critics

Sophie Mirabella looks on as fellow Q&A panellist Simon Sheikh suffers an apparent seizure last night. Picture: ABC Sophie Mirabella looks on as fellow Q&A panellist Simon Sheikh suffers an apparent seizure last night. Picture: ABC
Nanjing Night Net

1:20PM UPDATE: MEMBER for Indi Sophie Mirabella has hit back at those who have criticised her response to last night’s collapse of a fellow panellist on the ABC’s Q&A television program.

Mrs Mirabella said she and other panellists were all shocked when Simon Sheikh, the national director of online action group GetUp, fell forward onto the desk in front of him while seated next to her.

A social media onslaught followed in which Mrs Mirabella was criticised for leaning away from Mr Sheikh and staring at him while crew from the television program came to his aid.

“I initially assumed Simon was bent over laughing at something Greg Combet was saying, although I thought that was odd,” Mrs Mirabella told The Border Mail this morning.

“I didn’t have the same view of him as those in the audience; I don’t have good vision in my right eye and I had to turn to see what Simon was doing.

“It was a shocking experience, a terrible thing to happen on air and I have texted Simon to ask him if he is alright.”

Mr Sheikh keeled over next to Ms Mirabella who leant away and stared at his body prone on the desk in front of her.

Mr Sheikh, who suffers from epilepsy, regained consciousness as another panellist, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, and studio crew members rushed to his aid.

Almost immediately, Twitter was alive with criticism of Ms Mirabella’s reaction.

Joe Hildebrand tweeted: “If I’m ever in need of first aid I really hope the first person on the scene isn’t Sophie Mirabella”.

Gavin Heaton said: “Some politicians couldn’t get out of their own way to help others. Sophie Mirabella just proved it”.

Another tweeter commented: “Never liked Greg Combet before. Do now. Like Sophie Mirabella less and less”.

Comedian Anthony Lehmann tweeted: “Sophie Mirabella is not good in a crisis. She seemed disgusted by Simon Sheik and couldn’t wait to get him away”.

Survivor Geek said: “Mirabella can see Nauru from her desk but she cannot see a person in need right next to her”.

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