Photo © 2012 AAP/ABC Television
Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella was rattled when GetUp frontman Simon Sheikh collapsed next to her on live television, her representative says.
Mr Sheikh, who was suffering from the flu, passed out during ABC TV's Q&A program on Monday night, slumping on the table, prompting Climate Change Minister Greg Combet to stop mid-sentence.
"I'm not quite sure what Simon's doing there, is he OK? - He's not OK," Mr Combet said, before rushing over to him.
Stills taken from the program showed Ms Mirabella leaning back from Mr Sheikh, who was seated next to her on the panel.
She later put her hand on his shoulder, shortly before he sat up and said: "I'm sorry, I passed out."
Viewers used the social media network Twitter to criticise Ms Mirabella's reaction.
However, Ms Mirabella's representative said the Victorian frontbencher was unaware of a possible medical emergency.
"She has contacted him to wish him a speedy recovery," she told AAP on Tuesday.
The representative said the panel was "rattled" after Mr Sheikh was whisked off the stage to hospital, with host Tony Jones giving regular updates during the program on his wellbeing.
A GetUp spokesman told AAP the lobby group was concerned by the reaction of viewers to the incident.
He said it was a stressful situation for both Ms Mirabella and Mr Sheikh, and that GetUp was appreciative of her sympathy.
The lobby group took to Twitter to say "Folks, please don't criticise @SMirabellaMP - it was an extraordinary circumstance and everyone was shocked".
Labor backbencher Ed Husic also defended Ms Mirabella on Twitter: "you can criticise Sophie Mirabella about a lot of things - don't criticise her for her reaction to Simon's #qanda collapse".
Comedian Wendy Harmer tweeted: "This flaming of Sophie Mirabella does not sit well with me. As much as I do not like her politics, this is not on."
Mr Sheikh's wife was at the ABC studio in Western Sydney and accompanied him to Liverpool Hospital where he was treated.
Doctors have told him to rest.