Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer believes Scott Morrison regrets comments he made about Pamela Anderson, after the Baywatch star appealed to the prime minister to defend WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The former Playboy centrefold earlier this month urged Mr Morrison to support the Australian, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six years.
The prime minister later chuckled when asked if intended to heed the star's advice, before simply replying: "No."
"I've had plenty of mates who have asked me if they can be my special envoy to sort the issue out with Pamela Anderson," he told Gold Coast radio station Hot Tomato FM.
"But putting that to one side, the serious issue is no, our position on that hasn't changed."
In an open letter published on her website on the weekend, Anderson called the comments "smutty" and "lewd".
"You trivialised and laughed about the suffering of an Australian and his family. You followed it with smutty, unnecessary comments about a woman voicing her political opinion," she wrote.
Ms O'Dwyer said she has spoken with Mr Morrison about the issue and believes he regrets the off-the-cuff remark.
"I think the prime minister probably regrets the comments that he made," she told the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday.
"I certainly know from a discussion that he didn't mean to cause any offence."
Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek later said the comments were "not very prime ministerial".
Anderson had appealed to Mr Morrison to support Assange on Nine Network's 60 Minutes.
Assange took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in 2012, after British courts ordered his extradition to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual molestation case. The case was dropped but supporters say Assange fears leaving the embassy in case he's extradited to the US over WikiLeaks' publication of US diplomatic and military secrets.