Bindi Irwin 'not special' because dad died: Vanstone
AMANDA Vanstone is not known for her compassion.
But the former politician, best known for her tough stance against asylum seekers, arguably slumped to a new low when she said Bindi Irwin was not special because her father had died.
And despite the public backlash on social media, the former Howard government minister is not backing down, saying it was appalling that people made such a big deal about losing a parent.
Ms Vanstone, who lost her own father when she was three, told Nine's talkshow The Verdict: "give me a break, she's not the only kid whose father has died".
The comment came in response to gushing sentiment about Bindi Irwin from host Karl Stefanovic after the 17-year-old won Dancing with the Stars in the US.
"My father died when I was young. It happens to lots of kids. It doesn't make her special. How many years ago did her father die?,'' Ms Vanstone said.
Bindi's dad, Sunshine Coast Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin died when a stingray barb pierced his heart in 2006 while filming a documentary in Port Douglas.
Bindi was eight years old at the time.
She wowed the world when she took to the stage at her father's televised memorial service to pay tribute to him.
Ms Vanstone's comments left the panel on the Verdict and Stefanovic stunned and drew gasps from the studio audience.
"Hello Bindi, Amanda said get over it,'' panellist, author and journalist Peter FitzSimons responded.
"Come on Amanda," Stefanovic said. "I was just trying to end the show on something nice. Wow."
"I don't make an issue of these things, I think people who do are appalling," Ms Vanstone said.
"My simple point is, she's no different to any other person and my sympathies go with kids whose parents have just died or are dying.
"There are lots of Aussie kids, little kids, whose parents have recently died. (Irwin's) died eight or nine years ago or something."
Steve Irwin's death has featured heavily in the Dancing with the Show segments with Bindi paying special tribute to her father.
In public, Bindi Irwin has never sought sympathy over her father's death, rarely speaking about it in public.
But during the show, she spoke, for the first time, about the impact on her.
She said after her victory. "I'd never really talked about everything I'd felt when Dad passed away and I never thought I'd revisit that.''