A Hunter-based activist said he had not planned to throw shoes at John Howard but felt compelled after the former prime minister gave a ‘‘rubbish response’’ to questions about the Iraq war.
Peter Gray hit the headlines yesterday after the incident the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday.
Mr Gray, accompanied by fellow Hunter activist Naomi Hodgson, asked Mr Howard about the Iraq war, to which Mr Howard said he supported the war based on intelligence available at the time.
Mr Gray lobbed his shoes, mimicking an infamous incident when an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at former US president George Bush.
He said yesterday he had not gone to the program with the intention.
He missed Mr Howard and did not get his shoes back.
Show host Tony Jones asked for Mr Gray to be escorted from the studio, while Ms Hodgson yelled Mr Howard had blood on his hands.
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Mr Howard appeared unfazed during the show and joked about the shoe incident yesterday.
As he mingled with the crowd at the launch of his book in Sydney yesterday most conversations centred on the shoe-throwing.
Mr Howard addressed about 200 guests at the launch of his book Lazarus Rising: A Personal and Political Autobiography.
Mr Gray said he had been allowed to leave the studio after handing over his licence, and has since been accused of poor aim.
‘‘I’d challenge anyone to have a better go. It was a very stressful situation I can’t be blamed if my aim was bad.’’
Mr Gray, a member of Rising Tide, is no stranger to dramatic protests.
During a climate change protest at Kooragang in 2007, he climbed on top of then premier Morris Iemma’s car.
He and Ms Hodgson are behind a challenge to the legality of the amount of carbon pollution emitted by the Bayswater power station.
Asked if he advocated stunts, Mr Gray said the issue was important and he would continue to protest against the war.
‘‘I think today a lot of people will take the time to think about Iraq, our involvement and obviously John Howard’s culpability. That wouldn’t have happened if I’d asked a very searching question of John Howard and he had given a crap answer.’’