...You could almost see National MPs' heart swelling with pride as they watched their new leader cut loose and confront the Prime Minister with a ferocity rarely seen from [previous party head] Don Brash.... Yesterday's exchange was too brief to draw any firm conclusions about [Key's ability to challenge Clark] -- and the two leaders are not scheduled to square off again before Parliament rises for Christmas.
Mr. Key had cleverly chosen [a line of questioning that] showed Key making good his promise to take National's fight to Labour on issues which Labour regards as its preserve. When he asked about the date when New Zealand would become carbon neutral, she ducked the question, saying "a lot earlier than those still in climate change denial like the member."
It was at this point Key threw away his notes and suggested that when it came to this PM, "the country shouldn't listen to her rhetoric, just look at her record."
As the cheering on the National benches abated, Clark responded in kind to this attack on her credibility. When it came to taking people at their word, she replied acidly, she would take Key at his when he told Parliament last year he was not sure climate change was even a problem. "What's changed, Mr Key?" she barked.
WILSON TUCKEY: Why are you opposing the border protection for all the people? This is not about Liberals, this is about you mob?
KIM BEAZLEY: Take your tablets mate.
WILSON TUCKEY: Don't you insult me with tablets! I'm asking you why you are defying the Australian people on border protection?
KIM BEAZLEY: Off you go, mate.
WILSON TUCKEY: Your whole party - I'm just as entitled to stand here as you are. I am interviewing you and asking you why your entire party is going to kill off legislation that the Australian people want?
KIM BEAZLEY: And I'm asking you, Wilson, why you would support a weak, soft legislation?
WILSON TUCKEY: I don't believe it's that. Why don't you move some amendments to make it tougher?
KIM BEAZLEY: We're defeating it, it's a weak, weak piece of legislation, Wilson. That's a nice bit of rhetoric. Why don't you take your weak and worseless self.
WILSON TUCKEY: Don't you call me weak, you big fat so and so.
KIM BEAZLEY: That's our Wilson.
The reason for asking the Prime Minister about his/her engagements is because, until recently, any member of the cabinet could answer the posed question, allowing the Prime Minister to avoid answering questions themself, but once someone answers a question, they are obliged to answer follow up questions (on any topic). The only question that the Prime Minister had to answer personally was his/her list of engagements for the week; hence he/she is asked this question first, and all subsequent questions are follow up questions, forcing the Prime Minister to answer the questions his or herself.
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