Minister sent for anger therapy

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An Australian politician who told a pregnant rival that her baby could be born a demon was ordered to seek anger counselling after a string of allegations about her behaviour.

Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, interrupted his official visit to Japan to rebuke Belinda Neal, a member of his centre-left government, ordering her to improve her behaviour and warning her about her political future.

His intervention came after a string of media reports about Ms Neal, including her comments to Sophie Mirabella, revelations that she was suspended from a football team for kicking a fallen opponent and allegations that she threatened and abused restaurant staff.

"I've said to her that there appears to be a pattern of unacceptable behaviour," Mr Rudd told reporters in Tokyo.

Ms Neal is married to the New South Wales state minister and political powerbroker John Della Bosca. She narrowly won her seat for the Labor Party in the lower House of Representatives at last November's national election. She told reporters in Sydney that she had agreed to anger management counselling. "I think frankly that it will be a good thing," she said. Reuters