Is this our Future Minister for Soft Diplomacy, delicate international relations and Foreign Affairs?

May 10, 2019

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong has been blasted online, following the emergence of video of a moment that has been slammed as ‘rude’.

Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi was there and couldn't really understand Senator Wong's problem.

New Idea reports, facing off with Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham during a South Australian election debate, the duo’s usual civility and mutual respect went out of the window after Trade Minister Birmingham criticised Labor’s perceived inconsistency on China.

The controversy erupted after former Prime Minister Paul Keating claimed that Australia's spy chiefs are ‘nutters’, who should be removed to help relations with China.

Birmingham claimed the comments displayed Labor’s inconsistency on the issue, which apparently incensed Wong, who visibly bristled and then refused to shake his hand.

Adding to the slight, she then notably did shake hands with Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi (albeit, cursorily and without looking them in the eye).

Radio host Ben Fordham slammed Wong on Sydney radio station 2GB saying, ‘I mean really, what sort of example does that send. Penny, you need to grow up.’

Sunrise host Samantha Armytage was also less than impressed, saying of Wong in response to a guest's claims the politician is 'awesome', ‘I don’t think she was awesome there.’

To read New Idea’s article in full, and see the video of the diplomacy and handshakes (or lack thereof), click here.

To watch Conservative Party leader Senator Bernardi address that South Australian election debate with aplomb, manners, conviction and common sense, click here.

To see his follow-up with Sky News Australia channel the next day, yesterday, click the box below:

To find out more about our policies on foreign affairs, immigration and other key portfolios, click here.

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