Australia’s Ambassador to France tried to quit after his partner is told to “wait in the car”.
It is the leading political story of the day – the accusation that a career diplomat’s partner of 32 years was asked to “wait in the car” while the Prime Minister arrived at a small private airport, Le Bourget in Paris on Anzac Day.
Fairfax Media broke the story last night with reports that when the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott travelled to France last month his travelling party sent an instruction that the partner of ambassador Stephen Brady should not greet the PM – instead remain in the car.
Stephen Brady and his long-term partner, Peter Stephens had supposedly been waiting on the tarmac to greet the PM when they received the instruction.
The ambassador reportedly refused and was angry at the suggestion. Following the incident Fairfax Media reports he offered his resignation to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
His resignation was not accepted.
The story has flooded the media with the hashtag #waitinthecar trending.
The ABC reports that the Prime Minister’s office did not deny the incident took place saying in a statement: “The Prime Minister was very happy to be met by ambassador Brady and his partner when he arrived in Paris last month.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten tweeted shortly after the story broke “I sincerely hope this isn’t true”.
Following it up later with a statement:
“Australians deserve an explanation from Tony Abbott and if it’s true, Ambassador Brady and his partner deserve an apology.”Fairfax Media reports that Mr Brady was furious with the request for his partner to wait in the car “literally screaming” at the protocol person.
The ambassador, who was given an Order of Australia on Australia Day this year for his “distinguished service to successive Australian governments”, and his partner became the world’s first openly gay ambassadorial couple when Mr Brady was appointed ambassador to Denmark in 1999.