Tim Mathieson apologises for 'poor taste' joke

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has welcomed an apology from her partner, Tim Mathieson, for a "poor taste" joke about Asian women and prostate cancer checks.

Mr Mathieson make the joke during a reception for West Indian cricketers at The Lodge in Canberra on Monday night.

In an address to the function, he spoke about the importance of men's health checks for prostate cancer, but also made a joke referring to small Asian female doctors.

"We can get a blood test for it but the digital examination is the only true way to get a correct reading on your prostate so make sure you go and do that, and perhaps look for a small Asian female doctor is probably the best way," he said.

The comments created a minor furore in Canberra, with Ms Gillard later taking to the airwaves saying the apology for the "joke that was in poor taste" was the right thing to do.

"Tim's very passionate about men's health causes and he does go round the country talking to men about getting regular check-ups," she said.

"So he does try and persuade people to make sure that they get the checks done that are recommended. So it's important to get that message across.

"Obviously, there's various ways of getting that message across, but he's certainly acknowledged that the joke cracked last night was in poor taste."

Topics:  julia gillard tim mathieson

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