The inclusion of GetUp! National Director Simon Sheikh on last night’s episode of Q&A in the end offered a result more surprising and embarrassing than the activist would want remembered. Approximately 10 minutes into the episode, shortly after Sheikh had stumbled over a sentence he was offering in response to a question, he passed out with little warning while trying to take a drink during a reply by Labor MP Greg Combet on the carbon tax discussion. ABC crew rushed to his aid, as did Combet, and Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella extended an arm of comfort to him after the initial shock of him collapsing next to her.

Once a recovered Sheikh was assisted from the stage, host Tony Jones returned the show quickly to the debate at hand and provided updates throughout the show as to the guest’s ill health and recovery. He was taken to a local hospital where he remained under observation for some time, but later was released by doctors after being given the all clear. Social media channels lit up at the incident, particularly with many erroneously suggesting that Mirabella did nothing to assist a clearly distraught Sheikh.

GetUp! are yet to make a statement on the incident, though Sheikh did tweet later in the evening: “For those watching Q&A sorry I couldn’t stay- I’m in hospital, thanks for all your support”.

03/07 UPDATE: GetUp! released this statement with regard to Simon Sheikh’s health: