Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says The Chaser team should hang their heads in shame over a sketch about terminally ill children.
The controversial skit has appeared on video sharing website Youtube.
The segment, titled ‘Making a Realistic Wish Foundation’, ended with actor Chris Taylor saying there was no point in making expensive wishes come true as “they’re going to die anyway”.
Mr Rudd said the satirical program was guilty of extremely poor taste, and it was not fair to target sick kids.
“I actually don’t mind The Chaser taking the mickey out of me or any other politician at any time or any place, that’s fine, that’s fair game,” Mr Rudd told reporters.
“But having a go at kids with a terminal illness is really beyond the pale, absolutely beyond the pale,” said the Prime Minister.
“These guys collectively should get up and hang their heads in shame, it’s just wrong.”
The ABC and The Chaser apologise
The ABC and The Chaser’s War on Everything have apologised for the black comedy sketch, following community outrage.
ABC TV viewers flooded the broadcaster’s website with complaints after the satirical program aired a skit which depicted dying children making deathbed wishes.
Executive producer Julian Morrow and ABC TV director Kim Dalton have apologised for upsetting people.
They say they didn’t intend to hurt those who’ve been affected by the terminal illness of a child and the segment will be edited out of repeat screenings.
The Make a Wish Foundation says it’s offensive to imply that sick children are materialistic and make unrealistic wishes.
Viewers rage about skit
There’s also been backlash from the Australian Workers’ Union and Ron Delezio father of young car crash survivor Sophie Delezio who’s previously been the subject of a Chaser skit.
“This isn’t the first time they’ve done this,” Mr Delezio told Fairfax Radio Network.
“Who do I have to go to, whether it is the prime minister or whoever, to put a stop to this show?”
“What on earth were the people involved with the show thinking,” the parent of a terminally-ill seven-year-old boy logged on the ABC website.
Another complainant said: “It is a sad indictment on our society that this is entertainment and even sadder (there) are the people that pay them to do it.”