Aus Immigration Minister apologises for 'mad witch' text

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton (Getty)
Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton (Getty)

The political editor of a major Australian news outlet has accepted the country's Immigration Minister's apology for mistakenly sending her a text message calling her a "mad f***ing witch".

Peter Dutton intended to send the message to disgraced former minister Jamie Briggs, who resigned over alleged inappropriate conduct with a female diplomatic staffer while on official business in Hong Kong.

Sunday Telegraph political editor Samantha Maiden reported Mr Briggs had circulated a photo of himself and the staffer after saying he wouldn't reveal her identity, The Guardian reports.

While Mr Dutton admitted sending the message, he sought to make light of the situation and said he apologised to Ms Maiden straight away.

"Sam and I have exchanged some robust language over the years, so we had a laugh after this. I'm expecting a tough time in her next column," he said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he wouldn't comment on the text message.

Ms Maiden appeared on the Nine Network today, saying the message was a "solid sledge", but accepted Mr Dutton's apology.

"I sent him a text immediately saying 'you know mate, you've sent that mad witch text to the mad witch' and he was more than happy to apologise right away," she says.

She hoped Mr Dutton wouldn't end up on the backbenches because of the message and has called him a "good minister" who has contributed a lot to the government.

"I'm glad that Mr Dutton has my number. He has done all the right things apart from texting me a text calling me a mad witch. I'm happy to leave the matter there."

The text message was a distraction to the real issue which was the conduct of Mr Briggs, she said.

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