POLITICS
04/07/2012 08:28 BST

Australian MP Sophie Mirabella Under Fire After Reaction To Fainting Simon Sheikh (VIDEO)

An Australian MP has been criticised for lacking compassion after she froze when a fellow panellist collapsed next to her live on TV - while other guests rushed over to help.

Right-wing Liberal politician Sophie Mirabella said she thought he was "having a laugh" and turned away from her panellist Simon Sheikh, the head of a left wing activist group Get Up! fainted.

Her shoulders raised and she turned to move away from the contestant, who was sitting on her right.

Sophie Mirabella said she thought he was "having a laugh"

Fellow panelist and Australia's climate change minister Greg Combet rushed over to help Sheikh, who was later taken to hospital.

Mirabella, who was criticised by tweeters for lacking compassion, defended herself saying she thought he was just "laughing."

"I didn't know what it was," she said, according to ABC news.

"I thought initially he was just bent over laughing, because that's what you see, and turned around to try and get a better look and I - like everyone else on the panel - was just stunned."

Sheik's campaign group also supported her tweeting "everyone was shocked."

The activist, meanwhile, is recovering after "burning the candle at both ends."

"I am sorry to have caused any concern and am grateful people have been texting and emailing to check everything is okay," he said.