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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 July 2006, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Australian PM demands Brother axe
Big Brother Australia's website
The programme has attracted criticism in the past
Australia's Prime Minister John Howard has called for the country's Big Brother to be axed after allegations of sexual assault on the reality TV show.

Producers gave tapes of the show to the police after a female contestant seemed to be held down by one man while another rubbed his crotch in her face.

No charges were made but two men have been thrown off the programme.

"Here is a great opportunity for a bit of self-regulation and get this stupid programme off the air," said Mr Howard.

"It is just a question of good taste," Howard told Australian radio as he condemned the show, broadcast by Network Ten.

Federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan has referred the programme to Australia's television standards watchdog.

But Network Ten issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to the programme.

"Big Brother adheres to all broadcasting codes of practice and all relevant rules and regulations," it said.

The programme's producers said two housemates had been pulled from the show because they broke the programme's rules of conduct.

No footage of the incident which led to their eviction was shown on the TV programme, although it was broadcast live on the internet.

Police said no further action would be taken and the woman involved had not made an official complaint.

The format has been a hit for broadcasters around the world since it made its debut in the Netherlands in 1999.


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