BROADCASTER Paul Henry’s done it again – this time offending Australian audiences with remarks about asylum seekers while hosting a morning TV show.
Henry was commenting on news reports that the Australian federal government would pay households up to $A300 a week to accommodate asylum seekers to help deal with increasing numbers of arrivals.
“If this is all about saving money you could broaden it out. Why not criminals? Not murderers, but low-level criminals,” Henry said.
“The jails could be smaller and you could put them in homestay situations…. The mentally ill could go into homes.”
But it was Henry’s next comments – that putting an asylum seeker up in a linen cupboard for $300 a week was “a good idea” – put him in the firing line.
“You’d want to get the linen out, wouldn’t you? Otherwise (inaudible) ‘oh, these sheets are dirty. Ergh’,” Henry said.
He continued: “Don’t ask. These towels… (sniffs) oh no, don’t ask. We’ve got someone living in the linen cupboard, kids, just don’t go in there.”
His co-host, Andrew Rochford, said on air that Henry had taken his comments a step too far.
Henry has since been criticised on ABC’s Media Watch program, which said his “sick” comments were “enough to (make you) lose your breakfast”.
“Henry’s been imported from New Zealand specifically, it seems, to kick Australian television’s political correctness in the goolies,” Media Watch said.
“What’s sicker still is that Henry’s bosses at Ten will be delighted that their struggling little breakfast show has featured on Media Watch. If they’d had any shame, they wouldn’t have hired him in the first place.”
Henry, who joined the new Australian show’s team earlier this year, is no stranger to controversy.
As host of TVNZ’s Breakfast he drew criticism for comments suggesting former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand was not a real New Zealander, and his ridicule of Indian diplomat Sheila Dikshit’s name, which led to his eventual resignation.