ABC director of news Gaven Morris has denied newsreader Natasha Exelby is being punished for her on-air day dream gaffe.

Exelby was caught playing with a pen when the camera cut back to her at her desk during Saturday's evening bulletin.

"Live television is a demanding art and slip-ups will happen - our presenters are humans, not robots," Morris said.

"We take on-air standards extremely seriously, but we don't expect perfection. No one would ever be punished for a blooper and, while it isn't appropriate to publicly discuss confidential details of people's personal work arrangements, this has not happened to Natasha."


Morris said he has assured Exelby, a casual employee, that the ABC wants her to continue working various shifts she has been rostered for.

"While she is not currently doing any on-air shifts, this will be subject to normal performance management. I have spoken to Natasha and conveyed our regret that this has attracted such attention."

The Australian network was slammed after reportedly banning the TV journalist from appearing on air following the blooper.

People were quick to speak out in Exelby's defence: