The Mouth that Roared
The problem with having a big mouth is that it continually gets you
into trouble. Malcolm Turnbull and John Howard recognised this with
Christopher Pyne and never considered him for a senior position in the
parliament. Abbott however, together with Mirabella thought both of them
were front bench material. Pyne in particular gives the impression that
he is so mean that if you paid him a compliment he would ask you for a
The events prior to and after Bill Shortens Budget in Reply speech
aptly confirms his capacity for foul-mouthed venomous invective.
The first was when he called either Shorten or Burke a cu@t on the floor
of the house. It is uncertain which one he was addressing but the word
he used is categorically, unambiguously and incontestably the one in
question. Or your ears deceive you. For the speaker not to eject him for
vulgar crudity was not only incompetent but unforgivable. Perhaps she
didn’t want to spoil her record of 100 nil.
The second was when he instructed Bishop with a hand gesture to rise
from her chair when rapturous applause broke out after Shortens Reply
speech. The speaker rising indicates that the House should come to
In the first instance his denial of the use of the word only inflamed
the matter further enhancing his reputation as a grub. In the second
instance he openly displayed his contempt for the Parliament, his belief
in his own self-importance and control of the speaker. She in turn
exhibited her disgraceful bias for all to see.
This is exactly the sort of behaviour I was referring to in my last piece for The AIMN ‘’Budget in Crisis or Crisis in Democracy’’
in which I addressed the conduct of members in Question Time. Without
wishing to sound congratulatory, or self-indulgent. I thought it was
worthy of a larger audience than it attracted.
Pyne is the second youngest MP ever elected to the House of
Representatives. He is also arguably the most disliked. No one has been
expelled from the Chamber for unruly behavior more times than Pyne.
Offense comes as naturally to him as does sleeping and wakening. His
demeanor is crass and unpleasant. His self-righteous indignation is
prissy, shallow, superficial, and school boyish. If as the LNP say. The
adults are back in charge then it’s difficult to imagine how this
adolescent loutish, imbecile with an uncouth acerbic tongue got a
His incomprehensible handling of the issue of education funding, indeed
his incompetence in the education portfolio generally itself (even as
shadow) has but reinforced the opinion the electorate has of him. He
however, seems to have an image of himself that is beyond any critique
that would offend. And if it did, it would be inconsequential.
It takes a peculiar personality to gain satisfaction from being
disliked. Christopher however seems to delight in it. Perhaps psychology
has a name for it.
Now I don’t of course know him personally and I like to think that I
don’t judge people. I do form my own opinions of course. And you can
only do that based on how people present themselves. The perception they
themselves create. He seems to have an opinion of himself larger than
There are three kinds of people. Those who know. Those who know when
they are shown and those who have no interest in knowing. Pyne falls
into the latter category. That of an obnoxious little buffoon with no
interest in any values other than his own. A narcissistic, prissy
philistine, indifferent to the needs of our children.
Testifying to this was his admittance last year that he had never
read the Gonski report and was never interested in meeting with the
panel. This confirmed him as the Minister for the Destruction of
knowledge. What sort of minister wouldn’t be open to, or at least be
willing to canvas the opinion of others. You might expect it to be a
normal course of action for any minister in any portfolio. But there is
nothing like the certainty of a closed mind.
I understand of course that this might be difficult for a minister
who doesn’t believe in equality of opportunity for our children. That
the best education should only be available to those with the means to
pay for it. And of course the legacy of Julia Gillard had to be
In the past Pyne has served as a Parliamentary Secretary, assistant
minister and Minister for Aging. How a person of such juvenile
intellectual capacity was given Ageing is a mystery. Although on second
thoughts perhaps that could also apply to the Education Portfolio. It
seems extraordinary to me that a person like Pyne would be given
Education in the first place. He has never shown an inclination toward
the advancement of knowledge. On the contrary he gives the impression
that it should only be accessible to those of a conservative ideology,
of privilege and favoritism.
The occupation of power has a way of revealing characteristics in
people that we would not otherwise see. In Pynes case power has
accentuated his arrogance. Remember his claim, when appointed the
minister for education, that he has been in dialogue with the states for
11 weeks and that he alone stitched up a deal with them. Insinuating a
superior process. Breathtaking in its audacity and its untruth. He must
surely be one of the few people in the world who actually believes his
own bullshit. One has to wonder what he was doing for six years as
shadow minister given he didn’t have an alternative policy for the last
The reality is that at the time Christopher Pyne should have been
sacked but he was saved by a PM unwillingness to do so, because it was
so early in the governments first term. It wouldn’t have been a good
His performance at the time was abysmal. Appallingly so. In the first
100 days of government Pyne managed to offend teachers and parents and
all sections of the established education system. And his state
colleagues. But most of all he was and is educationally abusing our
We know that but I doubt it has even occurred to Christopher.
So back then we had three back-flips in three weeks. What is the
state of play? Well I’m a little confused but I will have a go. Everyone
knows back then that the $1.2 billion was not ripped out of the budget.
It was put aside to be taken up later when Qld, NT and WA came on
board. On this front the Coalition lied.
Now it seems that the Gonski model is dead. The funding remains for
four years but Pyne will decide how it’s distributed and this will not
take into account a needs based system which was central to the Gonski
reforms. This is why Pyne could not guarantee that every individual
school would get the same funding under the coalition. And there’s no
requirement on the states to adhere to the needs-based funding model
developed by the Gonski panel — a state can direct all the additional
funding to wealthy private schools if it so desired.
And, amazingly it appears that the states won’t even have to put in the
share they committed to under the Rudd/Gillard agreement. It seems the
result of all this is a blank cheque without conditions. No performance
based settings. We will not even know if schools with disadvantaged kids
are receiving more funding.
This together with the new University is more than a policy disaster. It’s a dog’s breakfast.
At the time Bernard Keane from Crickey said.
‘’In as remarkable a policy moment as I’ve seen in many
years, Pyne declared it would simply be “poor form” if the states cut
education funding to offset the Commonwealth’s additional funding.’’
And now we find with the new budget further educational funding is to be taken from schools.
The education of our children is an issue of national
importance. It is an investment in our countries future and the future
of every child. It is not a plaything for politicians of the ilk of
Christopher Pyne and Tony Abbott.
The destruction of knowledge is the greatest sin and doing nothing about it is an even greater one.
In the interests of our children this government
should put aside its philosophical objections to educational equality of
opportunity and replace Pyne with someone with an understanding and
passion for learning like Gillard had.