Immigration minister Peter Dutton has apologised to a journalist after accidentally sending her a message in which he referred to her as a ‘witch’.
The minister on Sunday night confirmed he had apologised after Samantha Maiden, the political editor for News Corp’s Sunday papers, received the message.
The message was reportedly intended for Mr Dutton’s embattled colleague Jamie Briggs who has stepped down after acting inappropriately towards a colleague while on an overseas trip.
In a newspaper column Ms Maiden criticised Mr Briggs’ behaviour and decision to circulate a photo of the woman who made a confidential complaint about his actions at a Hong Kong bar.
Mr Dutton responded to the column by reportedly texting Mr Briggs to call its author a ‘mad f***ing witch’.
Instead, it was sent straight to Ms Maiden’s text message inbox.
In a statement on Sunday evening, Mr Dutton confirmed he had apologised to Ms Maiden.
‘Sam and I have exchanged some robust language over the years so we had a laugh after this and I apologised to her straight away, which she took in good faith.
‘I’m expecting a tough time in her next column.’
The Australian newspaper reported that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had privately described the message as ‘completely inappropriate’.