Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, pictured with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, pictured with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott AAP Image - Paul Miller

Peter Dutton calls journo a 'f---ing witch' in SMS bungle

IMMIGRATION Minister Peter Dutton has described News Limited's political editor Samantha Maiden as a "mad f---king witch" in an SMS intended for demoted colleague and former Cities Minister Jamie Briggs.

Unfortunately, it was mistakenly sent to Ms Maiden.

As Sunday Telegraph political editor, Ms Maiden had on Saturday penned a blistering take-down of Mr Briggs for sharing an image of a woman who complained about his behaviour during a ministerial trip to Hong Kong.

Mr Briggs resigned from the Cabinet.

On Sunday, Ms Maiden wrote a column titled "Jamie Briggs booted for being fool", which took the former minister to task, describing his colleagues as being "appalled and dismayed" by his actions.

Enter the Minister for Immigration who attempted to show support for the embattled Mr Briggs by insulting Ms Maiden. He then SMSed it to her instead of Mr Briggs, according to News Limited.

Mr Dutton has form in making very public gaffes.

In September, he joked about how the Pacific Islands had water lapping at their door in relation to climate change without realising he was being recorded by an overhead mic.

Mr Dutton said sorry to Ms Maiden immediately, according to News Limited, after confessing publicly to have sent the message. Ms Maiden had otherwise refused to say who sent the message.

"I apologised to her straight away, which she took in good faith,'' he told News Limited.

"Sam and I have exchanged some robust language over the years so we had a laugh after this. I'm expecting a tough time in her next column."

It has instead made the front page of today's Daily Telegraph.

Both Mr Dutton and Mr Briggs were staunch supports of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Mr Dutton has occasionally been linked to a group of conservative MPs willing Mr Abbott back into power -- the so-called "Monkey Pod" -- named after the room where they meet in Parliament House.

Mr Briggs injured his knee at a party with the former PM after his ousting, when he came into contact with a marble coffee table.