Gillard dodges egg-thrower

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has dodged an egg thrown by a protester in Perth and apologised to the security officer who copped it.

Ms Gillard was entering the ABC studios in the city at about 9.30am on Friday when the egg was thrown.

It hit a female security officer on the back.

In the studio with morning presenter Geoff Hutchinson, Ms Gillard made light of the incident and said she had apologised to the security officer.

"I did see something fly past and I have met the lady who was coming in who ended up with the egg, on the back of her raincoat fortunately, so she'll be able to wipe it off," the prime minister said on air.

"I did apologise to her because I don't think someone was throwing the egg at her, but she ended up copping the egg."

Ms Gillard said she did not know what the protest was about and why the protester was angry.

"If people have got something to say to me, what I would obviously prefer is, I'm always up for a frank conversation."

After the egg was thrown, police arrested a 55-year-old man from North Beach in Perth's north.

Police said he had been in the cafe adjoining the entrance to the ABC studios and the egg had hit a WA police dignitary protection officer.

They said the man was understood to be a small businessman and was taken in for questioning by dignitary protection unit officers and possibly Australian Federal Police officers.

Earlier in the morning on the way into the Hyatt Regency Hotel to address a breakfast meeting, Mr Gillard was shouted at by two protesters angry over her new asylum seeker policy.

"There's no solution to deal with refugees Julia," one man shouted, as a woman called out, "Free the refugees".

During question time in the breakfast meeting the prime minister endured a politer protest.

Among the 550 paying guests were a group of young conservationists opposed to the federal government's approval of offshore oil exploration licences for areas off Western Australia's Margaret River region.

When given the microphone they stood up in line at their table, each displaying a letter to spell out "Fish not oil".

A protest spokesman called on Ms Gillard to protect the beaches and pristine coastline of the state's southwest.

In reply Ms Gillard said she was very fond of the Margaret River region and understood the protesters's concerns.

"I think I can allay your fears.

"We will of course go through all of the rigorous environmental processes and assessments that you would want us to do.

"Nothing will happen without working through in detail in a very, very scientific way all of the environmental issues you raise."

Outside the hotel about 30 protesters waved placards as the prime minister's car swept past them on the way to the ABC studios.

Some shouted "Shame on Gillard" and accused her of violating basic human rights with her planned shift back to offshore processing of asylum seekers.


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