Deputy Premier Kim Hames was last night forced into an embarrassing apology, backtracking from his remarks that he was convinced the paedophile father of baby Gammy had reformed and would not harm him or his twin sister Pipah, who were born in Thailand via a commercial surrogacy.
Amid a national backlash against Bunbury couple David and Wendy Farnell after an interview with Channel 9's 60 Minutes on Sunday, the WA Health Minister yesterday offered a rare vote of support.
Asked outside a Cabinet meeting whether he would have any concerns about the couple getting custody of seven-month-old Gammy, who was born with Down syndrome and remains in Thailand with his surrogate mother, Dr Hames said he would not.
"The child needs to have a family, needs to have a loving home," he said.
Mr Farnell told 60 Minutes he was remorseful over multiple indecent dealing convictions involving three young girls, and had "no urges at all of this nature".
"I can understand why people are concerned but honestly, there is no reason to be concerned," he said.
Dr Hames said he believed the children would be safe.
"I know what (Mr Farnell) was convicted of in the past but, I don't know if you saw the television program, I have to say I was convinced with his remorse over those issues and that he loves his baby daughter and I think he and his wife will take good care of her," he said.
But last night he backflipped, telling 6PR his comments were inappropriate and he wanted to apologise.
Dr Hames said he did not expect the questions from reporters outside Cabinet and saw only a brief part of the 60 Minutes program.
A discussion with Child Protection Minister Helen Morton convinced him he had erred.
"I don't downplay what he did in the past at all," Dr Hames said.
"I would probably like to withdraw (the comments of support). You can't withdraw something that you've already said, I guess."
Dr Hames' morning support was in contrast to the judgment of the couple meted out on Twitter.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said it was "outrageous" that Dr Hames had "gone to bat" for Mr Farnell. He said most West Australians would not expect a senior minister to pre-empt a decision.
I have to say I was convinced with his remorse." Deputy Premier Kim Hames before his backflip yesterday afternoon