50 Interviews – Flustered and powerless

29 October 2014

Written by: Erdem Koc

Politicians, at the best of times, are difficult subjects. With a desire to maintain party lines and stick to strict messages, it’s any wonder that our journalists often struggle to get a straight answer.

So when ABC broadcaster Sarah Ferguson interviewed Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne on the shortcomings of the 2014/15 education budget for 7.30, it was no surprise she had to remind him how to play fair.

Pyne is no stranger to answering the hard questions; a skill he clearly demonstrates in this interview. He knows how to take the pressure off himself and onto the Labor party, and as he shows in this interview, can manipulate the conversation to his advantage, indicated by his near consistent repetition the trademark Liberal party line, “Labor’s blue sky promises”.

Discussing the state school funding issues, Ferguson tactically called Pyne out mid-sentence: “We have rules against repeating lines. That’s just not on.”

This flusters Pyne, who becomes unsure how to negate the rest of the interview with the little power he has left.

Ferguson is persistent, but never aggressive in asking Pyne the hard questions, keeping the interview fast-paced and professional as Pyne tries to regain control of the dynamic and the direction of the interview, now being driven by Ferguson.

You can watch the full interview here.

See the rest of our ’50 Interviews’ here

Jess Whitby is a first year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University. You can follow her on Twitter: @jess_whitby