By Situation Theatre 2/3/2019
Australians grieve for his departure, but perhaps not as much as the Yemeni mothers whose children have died in Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war.
Australia’s political and media class seems to largely agree that Christopher Pyne will be a great loss to Parliament and will be sorely missed.
The Australian people feel the same way, finding it hard to choose between all their favourite things about the former Minister for Education and Defence.
Was it his time as Education Minister, when after promising no cuts to education in 2013, he slashed the education budget?
Was it when, according to an article for The Australian Association for Research in Education, “whether we are talking about primary, secondary or tertiary education, Christopher engaged in an ideological struggle against stakeholders that will have detrimental effects upon the education of students for years to come”.
Was it the two times “the fixer” tried and failed to get legislation through the Senate to uncap university fees so unis could double or even triple the cost of degrees?
Was it when he wanted to cut funding to universities by 20% or to hike the HECS debt for hundreds of thousands of Australians by retrospectively applying a real interest rate?
Was it when, despite the fact that at the time in 2014, the Australian Curriculum had not yet been fully implemented, he appointed arch-conservative Kevin Donnelly to review the curriculum?
Was it when the Australian people realised this was the same Kevin Donnelly with close connections to the Liberal Party who believed the curriculum’s focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, sustainability and Asia was a Marxist conspiracy? Or when the review shocked nobody by recommending more emphasis on Western civilisation?
Or perhaps it was that time when he said HECS debts should be reclaimed from deceased students?
Other Australians have a penchant for his work as Defence Minister.
They will miss Pyne’s efforts to drastically increase our international arms sales with the goal of making Australia the 10th-largest exporter of arms in the world.
They’ll miss his approval of dozens of shipments of military items to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two countries spearheading a genocidal war in Yemen.
They’’ll miss Pyne’s material support for this war which has directly killed tens of thousands of innocent people and an embargo which has killed 85,000 Yemeni children under 5 due to hunger.
They’ll miss the way, according to lawyer and human rights activist Kellie Tranter, Pyne’s actions mean “We’re actually engaging with the very players that are potentially involved in nefarious activities in Yemen. You’re talking about war crimes, mounting evidence of war crimes.”
They’ll miss his personal dedication to genocide, reflected in an ABC story which reported “It also appears Defence Minister Christopher Pyne played an important role in securing the deal while he was defence industry minister, according to a January statement released by EOS (the Australian defence company concerned) announcing the $410 million deal.
"Christopher Pyne MP has visited foreign capitals with me to provide assurance of Australia as a reliable defence partner and supplier to its allies," the statement said.”
Whether it was his relentless ideological crusade on public education or his material support for war crimes, Australians will fondly remember Christopher Pyne as the lovable larrikin with the funny voice.