Marvel superhero Jessica Jones gives a shout out to journalist called a 'mad witch' by Peter Dutton

This is not political journalist. Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

When a Marvel superhero is offering moral support to an Australian political journalist, you know it has to be January.

Over the Christmas break, Jamie Briggs resigned as minister for cities following an “incident” involving a female public servant in a bar in Hong Kong.

Details of the Victorian MP’s behaviour in the bar have been emerging over the last few days, including the fact that Briggs subsequently shared a photo he took of the young woman with Liberal Party colleagues. The photo was subsequently leaked to News Corp papers and published on the weekend, along with some personal and career details, leading to concern from the Community and Public Sector Union that the public servant’s privacy had been breached.

The Sunday Telegraph’s political editor, Samantha Maiden, didn’t hold back in an opinion piece yesterday, arguing that Briggs was sacked for “being a fool” and “his alcoholic intake left him running the risk of behaving like Les Patterson when representing Australia abroad”.

The behaviour of his colleagues, who leaked the photo to the media was equally reprehensible, she said.

Here’s part of Maiden’s column:

Hong Kong barfly Jamie Briggs’ ministerial career self immolated because he breached ministerial standards. That was the finding of an independent report into his conduct and the unanimous decision of his cabinet colleagues.

He did not go down simply for having a beer or giving a woman a kiss on the cheek.

As cases of political ­judgment go, the subsequent decision of his “friends’’ to leak a photograph of the woman who lodged a confidential complaint about his behaviour is an absolute doozy.

Maiden’s column caught the eye of immigration minister Peter Dutton, who tried to text Briggs that the journalist was a “mad f—ing witch”.

Except he sent the SMS to Maiden by mistake instead.

She texted him back saying “you know mate, you’ve sent that mad witch text to the mad witch” and he apologised straight away.

The journalist revealed the sledge – without the expletive – during an interview on Sunday morning television, but did not name the MP responsible.

Dutton later outed himself and apologised, saying in a statement last night that “Sam and I have exchanged some robust language over the years, so we had a laugh after this and I apologised to her straight away, which she took in good faith.”

Maiden, for her part, has taken the sledge with a grain of salt and defended Dutton, saying he shouldn’t be sacked for it.

“Dutton is a good minister, he’s a hard worker, he’s made a strong contribution to the government,” she told ABC radio.

She’s made light of the comment, helping turn it into a running joke on social media.

The government minister’s comment also caught the eye of the Netflix series Jessica Jones, based on the Marvel comic, about a former superhero with PTSD who now runs a New York detective agency.

It’s not the first time a Netflix series has been keeping an eye on Australian politics and joined in the conversation.

Last year, after Turnbull seized the leadership from Abbott and was asked about similarities to the House of Cards president Frank Underwood, the show’s Twitter account invited the new PM “to stop by any time”.

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