'We All Make Mistakes': Alan Jones Apologises On Air For 'N----- In The Woodpile'

It's a United States slave-era phrase he's used before.

On Friday's broadcast, Alan Jones apologies for using the phrase "n----- in the woodpile" on Thursday, saying that he accepts that it was offensive and the criticism was legitimate.

In the one minute, 44 second apology -- which unusually, was clipped up and posted to Twitter -- he explained that live broadcast radio is a "live medium ... going 100 miles an hour" and that "we all make mistakes."

"The mistake is mine, the comment was mine, it should not have gone to air, it was my fault and my fault alone. I shouldn't have said it. There is no one else to blame but me."

Macquarie Media confirmed to ten daily on Thursday that it was taking action against Jones, but would not elaborate on what that was.

It follows tweets he made several hours after the program aired, which attempted to justify his use of the phrase -- which was in reference to the Liberal leadership crisis -- by adding: "People should be honest and forthright in their actions and that is not happening in the Liberal Party right now."

 EARLIER:

We've reached the stage of the leadership spill where Alan Jones is using the n-word.

The veteran broadcaster used the racist slur on air Thursday morning, while talking about possible contenders for the leadership and Mathias Cormann's loyalties.

"The n----- in the woodpile here, if I can use that expression," he said, before adding: "I'm not going to yield to people who tell us that certain words are forbidden."

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It's hardly the point, but for context: Jones was talking about Cormann's then-unclear loyalties, saying the Finance Minister must show his hand. Since the broadcast, Cormann has resigned his position and announced his support for Peter Dutton.

The phrase Jones used is a figure of speech akin to "skeleton in the closet", but with far more racist connotations -- even without the flagrant use of the n-word.

It's a term that was was in use in the 1840s and 1850s. It's believed to have found its origins in a slavery-era Untied States, referring to black people escaping slavery by hiding under piles of firewood.

It's also not the first time Jones has used the phrase; as the Sydney Morning Herald points out, he used it in 2012 to describe then-Shadow Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull's leadership ambitions.

"Good stuff, Tony Abbott," he said. "You're there not to buckle at the knees just because a few little media outlets and sympathisers to Julia Gillard want you to. There's talk of Maclolm Turnbull, the n----- in the woodpile."

Jones has in the past come under the scrutiny of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), in the lead up to the Cronulla riots in 2005.

He read a listener comment on-air that recommending that bikie gangs confront "Lebanese thugs" at Cronulla train station.

"It would be worth the price of admission to watch these cowards scurry back onto the train for the return trip to their lairs," he read.

"And wouldn't it be brilliant if the whole event was captured on TV cameras and featured on the evening news so that we, their parents, family and friends can see who these bastards are."

He was found to have twice breached Australia's broadcasting code, with his comments likely to vilify people of Middle Eastern descent and "encourage violence or brutality".

In another instance when he was referred to the ACMA -- over comments that Julia Gillard should be "put in a chaff bag and thrown into the sea" -- he was found not to be in breach.

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