Leaked text messages have revealed that Liberal MP Christopher Pyne has been urging a high profile Adelaide radio host to help him ask independent senator Nick Xenophon to “please, please, pretty please” not contest his seat.
The messages, sent to Adelaide’s number 1 radio host, Leon Byner, contained a vehement plea for Leon’s help in getting Mr Xenophon to “leave [Mr Pyne] alone”:
“Just tell him to back off, I’m not worth it, honest. Tell him I’ll give him all my lunch money and give him free piggy back rides whenever he asks,” said one of the texts. “Please come on pretty please, please I’ll be your friend forever.
“I mean, if he wants someone to run in my spot I suppose he can but that’s such a waste of time! Every second spent competing against me is a second you’re not having a lovely picnic or eating an ice cream or just leaving old pal Chris alone.
When reached for comment Mr Pyne told The Backburner that he didn’t consider there to be anything unusual about the request or the manner in which he delivered it, stressing the fact that he really, really didn’t want Mr Xenophon to put up an opposing candidate.
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“It may look desperate and weird and kind of slimy to do it through a mutual friend but what you really have to consider is that I really don’t want it to happen. I said please like 50 times, if that doesn’t make him respect me then nothing will.
“I have conveyed the importance of not running against me to Mr Xenophon and I respect him as a politician enough to let him make up his own mind, but frankly if he still does then he’s really mean and uninvited from my birthday party.
“It’s not that I’m not confident I can win. I’m just so confident that I can win that it’s probably best for me to run entirely unopposed so people don’t feel overwhelmed by choice. They know they want to vote for me, their favourite boy, and don’t need the ballot paper confusing stuffed with other candidates.”
Mr Xenophon told reporters that while the texts hadn’t affected his decision about whether or not he would put a candidate up it had changed his opinion of Mr Pyne:
“Christopher and I have always had a pretty cordial relationship and I don’t expect to see that changing in the future but Christ, he’s a bit weird isn’t he.”