MEMBER for Mildura Peter Crisp has apologised to stage-four cancer patient Ilona Legin for comments made last week, suggesting she was angry with him because she was “dying”.
The Nationals MP yesterday issued a written apology, two days after personally contacting Ms Legin to say he was sorry for remarks aired on ABC Radio last week.
“I wish to apologise for my poor choice of words and the distress I have caused,” Mr Crisp said.
“I was trying to show empathy for your situation and did it poorly and inappropriately.
“Once again, I apologise for my words and the distress they have caused you, your family and friends.”
Mr Crisp’s comments sparked outrage on social media websites, including Facebook and Twitter, as friends and supporters of Ms Legin leapt to her defence.
They also triggered a flurry of letters and texts to Sunraysia Daily, condemning the MP’s remarks.
During his interview on ABC Radio, Mr Crisp responded to comments made by one-time state election rival and current Mildura Rural City Council candidate Ali Cupper that he was toeing the Liberal-Nationals party line in the Mildura Hospital debate before turning his attention to Ms Legin.
“Ali (Cupper) did raise concerns over the treatment of Ilona Legin, and particularly of my treatment of Ilona Legin,” Mr Crisp said.
“When people are dying they are often angry – and they are angry with God, or they can be angry with someone else and in this case Ilona is angry with me.
“If that’s what I can do to make her feel better and cope with what she has, then that’s what I’ll do.”
Ms Legin, who has been outspoken in her criticism of the level of health services in Sunraysia, was yesterday in the neuroscience high dependency unit of Royal Melbourne Hospital after suffering an aneurysm (burst blood vessel) on Friday.
She is suffering from bowel cancer, which has spread to her liver and appendix.
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Tuesday's Sunraysia Daily 9-10-2012.