It’s been another Stellar Week for the Newly “Reset” Abbott Govt.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne tried to give ABC 7.30 host Leigh Sales a lesson in Mandarin last night during an interview about the defeat of his education reform bill in the Senate.
In an interview during which Pyne defended himself and his relationships with crossbench senators the minister pronounced Palmer United Senator Dio Wang’s name as “Dio Wong”.
“I have a great relationship with Glenn Lazarus and Clive Palmer and Dio Wong,” Mr Pyne said before being corrected by the host.
“I think it’s Dio Wang, actually,” Sales said.
“Well, some people pronounce it ‘Wang’, some people pronounce it ‘Wong’.
“It depends on where you are in the spectrum,” Mr Pyne contended before suggesting it was a “very small thing” for the host to pick him up on.
Immediately after the ministerial slip of the tongue, Twitter lit up with the hashtag “wangorwong”.
The minister jumped into the Twitter conversation after the interview, continuing to school Sales in the nuanced tones of Mandarin.
“Sadly for @leighsales, Mandarin does not have a hard ‘a’ sound so it is ok to pronounce Wang as Wong. It’s s small thing. #wangorwong,” he tweeted.
The seldom-heard Senator Wang is yet to offer the minister his support about how his name can be pronounced.
In the interview Pyne referred to himself as “a good minister” and said he was “working hard”.
“I think the take out is that a good minister worked very hard to try and achieve a very important reform since May,” he said.
“He put that to a vote… that vote was not carried 33 to 31.”
The awkward interview topped off a day which was described as an “embarrassment for the government” with the education minister accused of harassment by PUP Senator Glenn Lazarus and seeing his bill to deregulate university fees in the senate defeated.
Senator Lazarus issued a savage statement yesterday accusing Education Minister Christopher Pyne of harassing him via text messages.
Senator Lazarus, who was hospitalised on Monday with kidney stones, accused Mr Pyne of “embarrassing himself” by inundating the senator with text messages asking him to support the government’s proposals.
He also predicted Mr Pyne would not be Education Minister next year.
“If Christopher Pyne is still the Minister for Education next year, which I strongly doubt, I suggest he takes the bill away, consults with all stakeholders and develops a new plan to support the higher education sector without hurting students” Lazarus said.
“Christopher Pyne’s office and other Abbott government ministers are continuing to contact my office and other crossbenchers offering all sorts of deals and incentives to get our support for the higher education reforms.”
“I have never given Christopher Pyne my mobile phone number. [Nevertheless] “I am being inundated with text messages from Christopher Pyne virtually begging me to support the Abbott government’s higher education reforms.”
“Christopher Pyne is embarrassing himself and needs to stop harassing me and other cross benchers,” Senator Lazarus said.
“I HAVE NEVER SENT GLENN LAZARUS FLOWERS OR CHOCOLATES” INSISTS PYNE
Texts sent by Mr Pyne, seen by The Gutter Trash, confirm that Mr Pyne was a prolific and lengthy texter to Senator Lazarus despite usually receiving no reply from the former rugby league star.
In the texts Mr Pyne pleaded with the senator to meet with him to discuss higher education policy, noting that he was the only crossbench senator to reject his requests for a meeting. Senator Lazarus never agreed to meet Mr Pyne.
In one text Mr Pyne signed-off as Christopher “Whine” – presumably an autocorrect error.
YOU WERE FERAL IN OPPOSITION
The minister’s interview followed Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s breakfast TV grilling by Today host Karl Stefanovic over his government’s inability to sell their budget reforms.
Stefanovic told the PM: “No one is buying what you are selling, what you are laying down. That is the problem.”
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