You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Hinch insists he's not 'back on the booze'

AAP logoAAP 19/09/2016

Eight years after swearing off alcohol for good, liver transplant recipient and newly-elected senator Derryn Hinch has admitted to the occasional tipple.

The outspoken former radio broadcaster labelled his ex-girlfriend Natasha Chadwick a "bunny boiler" after she publicly stated he has been "back on the booze" for 12 months.

"So much for respecting organ donors gift of life. Fave wine, cheap Gossips. No loyalty," Ms Chadwick said in a tweet on Sunday, which she later deleted.

Senator Hinch, who had a liver transplant in 2011, admitted to occasionally drinking watered down red wine and ultra-light beer after receiving permission from his surgeon.

"If I was back being a piss pot and drinking every day, that would be a disgrace," he told 3AW on Tuesday.

"I'd end up being dead and I don't want that."

Ms Chadwick, who has moved to New Zealand, said she noticed Senator Hinch started to drink more after the pair stopped living together.

"He would drink at home, he started to have a few glasses of wine when we went out," she told Sky News.

"He was asleep in my bed and absolutely reeked of booze."

The 72-year-old independent senator, who will help open the Australian Transplant Games in Sydney on Sunday, accused Ms Chadwick of trying to publicly embarrass him.

"I'm getting a taste of a bit of bunny-boiler treatment here," he told 3AW on Tuesday.

The man dubbed The Human Headline swore in 2008 he would never drink again, even if he had a titanium liver.

A self-confessed alcoholic, Senator Hinch nearly died from blood poisoning in 2006 and a year later revealed he had advanced cirrhosis.

In 2011 his cancerous, cirrhotic liver was replaced by a donor liver from 27-year-old shooting victim Heath Gardner.

Mr Gardner's sister Kimberley said while she stood by Senator Hinch, "it is upsetting to think he may be polluting my brother's liver".

But Senator Hinch says Mr Gardner's mother "doesn't mind" his occasional drinking.

Professor Bob Jones, the surgeon who carried out Senator Hinch's transplant at Melbourne's Austin Hospital, was unavailable for comment.

But Australian Liver Foundation chairman Mike Ahern insists alcohol is the "enemy" for transplant recipients because of the impact it can have on medications to prevent donor organs being rejected.

"You can't say, 'I can have a couple of drinks on a Saturday night.' The answer is no. You must stay off it completely," he told AAP.

Transplant Australia chief executive Chris Thomas declined to comment on Senator Hinch's drinking habits, but noted that a principle of organ donation was that it was regarded as a "gift" without preconditions.

"However, all transplant recipients understand the second chance they have been given and Transplant Australia encourages all recipients to lead a normal life respecting both the opportunity they have been given and the advice of their physician," he said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon