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A SLEDGE TOO FAR: Bullying the PM in Canberra’s corridors not a good look for Pyne & Hockey

pynehockeyThe revelations in Phil Coorey’s column that the Coalition’s own Laurel & Hardy Christopher Pyne and Joe Hockey had engaged in corridor sledging of the Prime Minister in Parliament House don’t reflect well on either of them.

He wrote:

It was raining heavily in Canberra on Wednesday so, after question time, Julia Gillard walked the corridors back to her office rather than cut across a courtyard as she usually does.

As she strolled past opposition MPs’ offices, Christopher Pyne and Joe Hockey, like two schoolyard ne’er-do-wells, trailed about 10 paces behind, heckling. Hockey was bellowing the Engelbert Humperdinck lyrics: “Please release me, let me go, ’cause I don’t love you any more …” Pyne, doing his best to affect a menacing gravitas, was taunting repeatedly: “You’re drowning Julia, not waving, you’re drowning.”

By any measure, it was disrespectful behaviour towards a prime minister but Gillard, whose government has plumbed record depths in unpopularity, is getting used to such treatment and ignored her tormenters.

VEXNEWS has learned that this was not an isolated incident and while the PM is apparently unfazed by it (a background in student politics and in representing various union rough-heads probably made Pyne/Hockey’s efforts seem rather limp) it is not smart politics by Hockey and Pyne.

Parliament House sources say these antics – directed at the nation’s first female PM – usually flare up when the Coalition has had a bad day in the chamber. That itself is rather damning as it reveals the behaviour is not even a political tactic so much as a venting of frustration and rage.

It seems unlikely the leaders of many nations would be subjected to this kind of thing. President Obama, while attacked by some as foreign-born, the Devil and an over-enthusiastic leisure-time seeker, is unlikely to be heckled by even the loopiest members of the US Congress in private in the stupid way of Pyne & Hockey.

Politics at its best is passionate. But the Coalition’s lesser performers – perhaps inspired by their hyper-aggressive and highly effective leader – rarely seem to get the tone right.

Hockey has more identity issues than a schizophenia convention.

Desperate to be loved, and naturally apparently a conflict-averse chap, he plays out of position when he tries to be the tough-guy.

His recent muscling-up on fiscal policy, where he apparently leaked against himself plans to make $70 billion on spending cuts, was calculated to make him look like the tough-guy.

Instead, most of his colleagues immediately knew he’d done it and instantly knew why. He was desperate to assert his fiscal manhood. Even if it set a trap for the Coalition at the next election where one of Labor’s best cards to play is talk up the consequences of cuts to services etc. A high price to pay for Hockey trying to pretend to be something other than what he is: a nice bloke who is probably not a natural Shadow Treasurer/Treasurer.

That job needs a tough-guy, not a nice bloke.

And there’s one big b*stard just waiting for the call. Malcolm Turnbull.

While his political ineptitude as Leader scaled new heights of folly, it did reveal his Keating-style determination to get his own way.

And that’s the quality successful Treasurers need to have. Strong communications skills but also an unreasonable level of self-belief. Turnbull certainly has it. Hockey doesn’t and never will.

Abbott is a risk-taker in external politics but is reputedly very risk-averse in the management of his colleagues. But he’d go a long way to sealing the deal on his election if he boned the nice-guy Hockey and put up Turnbull in the Treasury role.

It would be a self-confident move that would send a strong message to the business community that occasionally wonders about the statist reputation of Tony Abbott who loudly opposed pretty much every economic reform ever discussed in his time in the Howard cabinet.

The broader truth that to be effective in any area of human activity you’ve got to play to your strengths, and be true to yourself. The only effective muscling up we’ve ever seen Hockey do is on the Rugby Union field. He’d be well advised to leave it there.

We’ve left out Pyne from this analysis because Coorey pretty much said it all:

Pyne, doing his best to affect a menacing gravitas…

If everyone else around you is laughing, and you’re not sure why, then you can reasonably surmise that you are, in fact, the joke.

Discussion

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  1. Great work!

    Posted by Judy Price | August 22, 2011, 11:46
  2. I figure Joe would be Ollie and Christopher Stan but who is Turnbull?

    Posted by cohenite | August 22, 2011, 11:46
  3. It feels so nice to have Big Joe close behind me.

    Posted by Pissy Chryne | August 22, 2011, 12:35
  4. Chris Pyne started out as a typical SA Wet and has made many a welcome change on his personal road to Damascus. It was expected he would go the chardonnay Turnbull route. Instead, he has become a major weapon in the battle to save Australia from the socialists and avocados. He reminds me of Brendon Nelson and Alexander Downer, whose careers transcribed a similar and just as admirable arc.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | August 22, 2011, 13:17
  5. Its not wot comes out of Pyne’s mouth that is the concern, its what he allows to be put in it.

    Posted by Cwissy Pwyne | August 22, 2011, 14:06
  6. “a nice bloke who is probably not a natural Shadow Treasurer/Treasurer.

    That job needs a tough-guy, not a nice bloke.”
    It also needs a smart bloke not a dim one.

    Posted by Taking of Pell 123 | August 22, 2011, 14:11
  7. Smell an election eh Andrew? Trying to prime the anti-coalition pump?

    It is your right and privilege (especially as a generational ALP man) but it is quite transparent.

    Posted by Billy the Kidder | August 22, 2011, 19:05
  8. superb analysis Andy. Turnbull is the elephant in the Coalition room. He needs to go to Treasury. Now if only Tony would pull his knob out of that crumpet in his office long enough to focus on the big picture…

    Posted by voice of reason | August 22, 2011, 20:23
  9. Don’t believe everything you read in the papers is old but wise advice.

    Was Phil Coorey actually there?

    Posted by Gordon of Millswood | August 22, 2011, 20:49
  10. I have one of those big mouth singing fish thing-a-ma-jigs that sings “please release me”.

    This totally irrelevant comment wastes less space than this story.

    The Prime Minister should be treated with dignity out of respect for her office. Australian politics is so peurile now-a-days (not that some politicians were ever particularly grown up).

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | August 22, 2011, 22:57
  11. bite me

    Posted by Minion | August 22, 2011, 23:02
  12. CatMan doing a sh!t job defending Thommo on Lateline. Albo would’ve done a better job.

    Posted by Anonski | August 22, 2011, 23:10
  13. Phew! Emmo is relieved that interview is over.

    Posted by Anonski | August 22, 2011, 23:12
  14. You should know Andrew! You were a standover man at Melbourne University Students Union, weren’t you?

    Posted by Blat! | August 22, 2011, 23:26
  15. Dr ‘Spock’ Emmerson is a giggle as Labor’s new chief head-kicker. He has two left feet. He couldn’t kick a flea off a rice pudding…

    Posted by Pudding Puller | August 23, 2011, 1:26
  16. what a joke. How bout some of the retarded things that come out of Julia’s mouth.

    Fact is respect is earned not demanded or stolen in Julia’s case.

    She has yet to earn my respect and apparently nor has she earned the opposition’s.

    Posted by JCS | August 23, 2011, 3:46
  17. Chistopher Pyne is that classic bully boy in school, over compensating for something I believe.

    So obviously gay – but whats sad is that he thinks that is shameful! So he hides it… It isn’t, in fact people only make homophobic remarks about him because he hides it. No one ever says anything about Bob Brown’s sexuality!

    Come out Chritopher, and stop bullying the smart girls because you are jelous of them!

    Posted by Honesty | August 23, 2011, 7:40
  18. Written by a leading ALP suckhole,don’t tell me anyone’s silly enough to believe what he writes.

    Posted by Nark Latham | August 23, 2011, 8:53
  19. Julia Gillard has done everything but earn respect and has substantially diminished the office of PM. She well deserves all the disrespect she receives.

    Posted by PeterMax | August 23, 2011, 10:17
  20. To my previous post I add that the Lefties need to remember all the abuse and vitriol that they hurtled at John Howard and he actually improved and progressed Australia, not diminished it as Julia Gillard is doing with her squandering of $billions and strong efforts to damage our economy and jobs.

    Posted by PeterMax | August 23, 2011, 11:11
  21. Love the photo, so very apt!

    Posted by The Truth | August 23, 2011, 11:21
  22. What’s that about ‘Empty Vessels Make the Most Noise’?

    Posted by A Nonny Mouse | August 23, 2011, 11:45
  23. the thing

    Posted by heto | August 23, 2011, 12:09
  24. If only Ted Mack had run another term we would not be stuck with that dimwit Hockey in the parliament!

    Posted by The Insider | August 23, 2011, 12:17
  25. Andrew Landeryou was one of the greatest Presidents of the Melbourne University Student Union to come from the left side of student politics.

    I know he may cringe at the left moniker but as a member of the ALP, albeit one of the most sensible patriotic members, he is properly classified as being a leftist – in the same way as Zionism is a moderate socialist philosophy.

    On reflection, it is a great pity that the extreme elements in the left (that part of the left that preaches democracy but practices direct action violence to “guide” and “educate” the masses through fear) brought him down.

    The Liberal Students on campus at the time took a short term calculated tactical move without considering the longer term strategic ramifications of empowering the extremist elements in the left and providing them with a safe haven.

    It was victories such as these that energised the trots and radicals into their march to take over the environmental movement, a Soviet-era-inspired putsch that had started in the 1970′s with the anti-uranium and anti-whaling and pro-land rights campaigns.

    The radicalisation on the mainland of the Greens Political Party is the result of many such strategic mistakes.

    While the 1980′s ALP was abandoning its extremist Hartley-era tinge and welcoming back the DLP unions, a new damgerous development was brewing with the reliance on Greens’ preferences. By 1990, that process was complete and the Federal ALP has not been able to win an election since without these votes.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | August 23, 2011, 13:05
  26. That 2nd photo is a hoot; but I still can’t stand Gillard; she’s the splitting image of my ex-wife.

    Posted by cohenite | August 23, 2011, 15:08
  27. Rudd must be having a good giggle. He was skewered by the NSW Right and their hangers on. Now he gets to watch as Gillard is brought down by one of the grubby NSW Right sponsored operators who did not earn or deserve his position in the first place, in either the union or his ride into parliament (obviously partying all the way, along with few others by the looks of some of those credit card charges). If I was Rudd I would be cracking the champagne with Therese and having a good laugh. Only the NSW Right could create this. I love the various actors here like Richo, now there is a bloke who lets loose a deadly fart and then looks around and says ‘who farted.’ Craig Emerson and Albo (supposedly left but a major defender) do they know how bad they look as they try and divert attention to Fisher, the two matters just cannot be compared and nor should they be. This issue really is about integrity and as you know Andrew there is much more to come on this story.

    Posted by Wrongs of the NSW Right | August 23, 2011, 15:57
  28. haha, you silly tool cohenite.

    Posted by voice of reason | August 23, 2011, 22:22
  29. Joe, bend me over and do me in the dirty door.

    Posted by Cwissy Pwyne | August 24, 2011, 2:03
  30. voice of reason; that’s the sort of thing my ex used to say; are you my ex?

    Posted by cohenite | August 24, 2011, 8:34
  31. haha, you stilly tool cohenite!

    Posted by voice of reason | August 24, 2011, 8:39
  32. I’m confused; I don’t know whether voice of reason is my ex or Ms Gillard; are you a natural redhead voice?

    Posted by cohenite | August 24, 2011, 8:45
  33. NO MODERATION HERE thats the way it is you post that or nothing

    Posted by heto | August 24, 2011, 11:24
  34. nah, and unlike your bargearse ex I have a fine, pert rear end.

    Posted by voice of reason | August 24, 2011, 12:58
  35. I have a collection of Pert shampoos and conditioners.

    Posted by cohenite | August 24, 2011, 15:57
  36. Well, if this is true, then she’s stupid for taking the House of Reps exit from the Chamber, instead of the King’s Hall exit.

    Howard always took the latter, becuase it’s the shortest route back to the PM’s Office.

    If she’s patrolling the corridors of the Reps, then she’s just asking to cop a gobful.

    Posted by The Man in the Mac | August 25, 2011, 10:26
  37. ***now he gets to watch as Gillard is brought down by one of the grubby NSW Right***

    LOL. For sheer paranoid stupidity, that comment takes the cake. Do you really think Gillard needs any help, to be brought down? She’s perfectly capable of destroying both her own career and the Labor brand without any assistance whatsoever.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | August 25, 2011, 12:53
  38. Byron, well yes I have to agree with you. She does not need any help but she is getting plenty you have to admit. She is not single handedly destroying her own career and the ALP Brand (the NSW Right did that)and it did not start with this most recent scandal, it started with rolling Rudd whether or not that was a correct decision, the ALP have never recovered from it.

    Posted by Wrongs of the NSW Right | August 25, 2011, 15:44
  39. WTFC, now lets get back to Thomson.

    Posted by Bilbo | August 25, 2011, 19:22
  40. Screw Thomson, I want to know why my ex-wife is running the country.

    Posted by cohenite | August 25, 2011, 20:14
  41. Fat boy and nancy boy too scared to confront the PM, so like the swats they are, they sneak about making snide remarks.

    Hockey has always been lazy. His colleagues know that, hence the moniker ‘sloppy Joe’.

    As for Pyne, wee we all know what his problem is, don’t we!

    Posted by Wendy | August 25, 2011, 20:18
  42. Hockey and Pyne really are a pair of oily ticks. When I was at school, we used to line up four or five of their sort, make ‘em bend over, and use ‘em as a toast rack.

    Posted by The Claw | August 26, 2011, 8:53
  43. The real Laurel & Hardy are the Immigration Minister and the Shadow Immigration Minister. What a couple of losers and incompetents who don’t know what they are doing in relation to assylumists (my new English word). These two boofheads should be put away in a loony asylum

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | September 1, 2011, 18:00
  44. What a pair ‘lard arse’ and ‘mattress muncher’ pity help us, if these two misfits are ever Ministers in Mad Monk’s government.

    Posted by anon | September 1, 2011, 21:02
  45. No fan of Gillard, but the Laurel & Hardy photo comparison is hilarious.

    Posted by Ben | September 4, 2011, 22:05

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