Ex-Aussie PM gets the boot

John Howard, ex-Australian Prime Minister, had a boot thrown at him at the Union last week.

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Controversial former Australian PM had a boot thrown at him at the Union last week.

An unknown male HURLED the offending object at John Howard while he spoke in the Union’s debating chamber on Friday, The Tab can reveal.

John Howard’s aggressive policies sparked controversy during his 12-year term of office particularly those aimed at immigrants and the aborigine community.

Eyewitness Matthew Jago revealed that when John Howard entered the room a white male with a long blond ponytail stood up and shouted, “Racist” and then sat back down again.

The assailant is reported to have been JUMPY and VISIBLY ANGRY but “he didn’t really seem to know what he should do.”

When John Howard introduced himself with the comment that he had been Australia’s Prime Minister for 12 years the man jumped again and yelled, “I was ashamed to be an Australian for that entire time, racist.”

After this he was asked to the leave the Union but he refused and took off his Doc Martin boot and attempted to throw it at the former head of government.

Senior Union members managed to intercept the boot and the man was escorted out.

Union President, Julien Domercq expressed regret at the incident and confirmed that the Union could not condone such behaviour.

He said, "The Union is a forum for open discussion and debate, offering members a safe environment in which to express their opinions freely. We of course hope that these channels of discourse remain mutually respectful and take place in an intellectual and rational way."

Although Union representatives could not comment on specific security cases, they confirmed that they "have robust procedures in place, which are implemented by experienced professionals, to ensure that all our high profile guests are safe when they speak at the Union."

An source said, "The shoe thrower was obviously a total idiot -he threw it at the start of the talk, before even hearing what Mr Howard had to say. His throw was pathetic – and was easily stopped – and he even had the cheek to come back in afterwards and ask for his shoe back."

It is reported that some audience members were confused by the whole affair while others told the man to get out. 

Jago says, “It was a bit embarrassing, he [the boot-thrower] obviously really cared but he didn’t make a point or ask John Howard specific questions.”

One Cambridge student posted on their Twitter page, "Saw an angry Australian chuck a shoe at John Howard earlier, was perhaps the worst throw ever- and they wonder why they lost the Ashes…"

After receiving an apology from a Union representative, John Howard is reported to have made light of the situation and carried on with his speech.

Domercq told The Tab, "[we] admire the good grace with which he handled the incident." 

The incident comes just a day after British MP, Denis MacShane's racist comments at the Union during a debate on the Middle East.

Shoe throwing seems to be becoming a fashion amongst student protestors in Cambridge.

Grad student, Martin Jahnke, earlier this year threw his shoe Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a speech at the West Road Concert Hall.