Shoe throw, David Hicks fire up Q & A

Live television showed it still has fire power when John Howard faced a Q & A audience last night.

One irate audience member threw his shoes at the former Prime Minister, echoing an Iraqi journalist who once took aim at George W. Bush.

Both missed Howard, but unsettled host Tony Jones. Jones ordered the man be removed from the studio.


One of the Tweets published on screen just moments before had even prompted for a shoe to be thrown at the former PM.

Q & A was certainly a lively programme, with several interjectors in the usually-controlled forum.

Howard bristled at some of the questions, including a video question from David Hicks who asked whether he was treated “humanely” while he was detained and tortured in Guantanamo Bay under the Bush Government.

The surprise video question was a compelling television moment in an electric episode.


But Howard was unrepentent, as he was on all topics put to him about his government’s record.

“All we’ve got is two smelly sneakers,” remarked a relieved Jones at the end of the show.


  1. Make no mistake, Hicks is no hero or a simple Australian who is just “impressionable”. Having converted to Islam was the first step towards radicalization. Not saying that converts to Islam are all radical, but what was he doing in a AQ linked training camp? A holiday? I think not. If a person makes a journey to the other side of the world to engage in training that it violent in nature… what are his reasons? This is not the act of an average person. The same could be said if a person was experimenting with drug dealing, “just to see what it was like” – the excuses and defence from anti-establishment cronies is nauseating. Hicks sounds like the typical radical candidate. A loner, disaffected, alienated man who wanted to have meaning in life, a purpose or a sense of belonging; couple this with a dissatisfaction in life and anti government/Australian resentment and you have a volatile mix. I don’t agree with the way the US treated Hicks, but I don’t think Hicks is an underdog or folk hero by any means.

  2. Enough hero-worship of Hicks. The guy is a self-confessed terrorist! End of story. The only thing that makes my skin crawl more then seeing him, is hearing deluded, naive apologists defending him.

    With the benefit of hindsight, the Americans should have plugged him when they caught him, along with the other western pro-Al-Qaeda members. Traitors all – they deserve nothing.

  3. It’s a shame the shoes didn’t hit Tony for his poor hosting skills, I say hosting as he hardly had the upper hand at interviewing the former PM. Howard had total control of the whole show he even calmed the shoe thrower. I guess the shoe throwing was either pre-meditated before the show or he became agitated during the time Tony and Howard rabbited on with some tangent to avoid the rubuttle. Clearly the producers had no idea as how to help Tony out as he fluffed around and didnt know what to go to next leaving a gap you could throw Two Shoes through…

    Howard demonstated how good a politician he was even saying that he enjoyed it and that he “never let his gaurd down once” well I guess he did with that statement.

    It must have been a great buzz for Howard to know that he has still got it (in regards to not anwering the questions outright and being able to have the upperhand over any Journo)

    Oh Good Times….

    Now can someone seriously run this country ???

  4. The way the audience clapped the David Hicks question was disgusting. The guy went to Afghanistan to fight alongside animals who wanted to kill us. He is nothing but a dumb ass.

  5. I’m no Howard fanboi, but I’m sick of these non-Muslim trendies throwing shoes all the time since Bush was last in Iraq. Don’t they know what it means? It means nothing when one non-Muslim throws shoes at another non-Muslim. But if they were both Muslim, or at least one of them, then it would be a proper insult because Islam states the soles of shoes are dirty like dogs.

    Why shoes? Throw anything if you like. For Howard, he would’ve been more hurt by words more than anything else. Maybe something about his family?

    That stupid hippie needs to lay off the weed & just think before he acts.

  6. Watching Howard in action last night puts me in mind of the old Mac Davis hit – ‘Oh lord it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way’.

    A little humility can go a long way.

  7. I can’t believe I missed it – I normally watch every week. David (or anyone who knows) does the ABC re-run Q&A during the week? I know they re-run Four Corners and Media Watch, but, have not noticed repeat Q&A’s.

  8. For all the praise Howard gets for his ‘economic management’ as PM, his big weakness amongst many, was that he didn’t invest in infrastructure, both state wise and federally, as he just saw it as an annoying expense. What Labour have tried to do with that, for all their many faults as well, isn’t reckless spending, but doing what he should’ve initiated.

  9. @Dan – I’m with Trix on this one – you do come across quite “full of hate for anyone that doesn’t think the same way that you do,” which I believe was her point.

  10. John Howard wanted Hicks locked up and tortured. He wanted us to believe he was a terrorist. Just like he told us the refugees threw their children overboard. Hmmm… I don’t think I would believe anything he says. I wish the shoe had hit it’s mark!

  11. Sadly, Q&A as a concept suffers because of the low-calibre studio audience. These people are more interested in grandstanding than in actually listening to answers. I didn’t watch the show on principle, because by any reasoned anaylsis Howard & his government used the politics of fear and division to achieve re-election. And bear in mind I actually voted for him in the first few times time he ran, so this is not the opinion of a rusted-on Labor supporter.

    As for some of the personal exchanges on this page I’m a little surprised David didn’t exercise some judicious censoring. Honestly @Dan, your hatemongering and namecalling just display your profound ignorance. Any comparison of @Trix’s writing and yours reveals a wide gulf in education and intellect, so I’d call it a day if I were you.

  12. Have to agree with the main sentiment of this discussion that was an amazing piece of TV. Full compliments go to the ABC and Q&A but also MR Howard for not putting restrictions on what could and couldn’t be spoken about during the program.

    As regards to how Mr Howard dealt with it, people say he was Smug. Come on the man just had a pair of shoes thrown at him in disrespect. Would you have rather turn around and say what disgusting people to show such low respect for a former leader of this country. All political leanings aside come on seriously.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.