Written By: - Date published: 8:23 am, November 12th, 2015 - 169 comments
Categories: australian politics, International, john key, making shit up, national, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
You know how Labour and the Greens are supporting all the rapists and murderers that are based on Christmas Island. There is a slight problem. There are none.
Of the forty New Zealanders being detained on Australia’s Christmas Island, one is a criminal who has been convicted of indecently assaulting a child.
However none are rapists or murderers.
Of course to clear matters up John Key could apologise and withdraw the comment. But despite repeated opportunities being offered yesterday in Parliament he refused to do so. And he should do so if for no other reason that he has misled Parliament even if the very strong moral reasons for saying sorry do not persuade him.
My gut feeling is that this issue is getting away from National and they must be thinking of a way to get out of the mess they find themselves in. The Guardian headline referred to by Anthony Robins “New Zealand female MPs thrown out of parliament after disclosing sexual assaults” seems so wrong at so many levels. And this video of some of the female MPs talking about their personal experiences is heartbreaking.
The media is clearly swinging behind the opposition on this issue. You just have to watch twitter to see the trend.
There are other problems for National. The Australian detainees are not all criminals of one sort or another. One of them, former Lance Corporal in the New Zealand army Ngati Kanohi Te Eke Haapu was detained not for any offence but because he was a member of a motorcycle gang. While in the army he had received a number of service medals and had even on one occasion been part of a guard protecting Key. Detaining him is wrong at many levels.
If you want to read a legal analysis of the situation then Andrew Geddis at Pundit provides this concise description. There is one point that I would emphasise. The retrospective tightening up of the policy meant that individuals who previously did not qualify to have their right of residence cancelled now qualify. This is why there are so many horror stories of quadriplegics convicted of drugs offences or people convicted of shoplifting or driving offences being detained.
Strangely some in the media think that National is handling the politics of the issue well. This article popped up at 9 pm last night, approximately 31 hours after John Key start made his comments.
Tracy Watkins said:
The acrimony over Key’s claim that the Opposition are “backing rapists” because of their advocacy for Kiwi expats facing deportation back to New Zealand after failing tough new Australian good character tests is real.
Key’s prime target, Labour MP Kelvin Davis, has particular reason to feel aggrieved. Davis, who has raised the case of the Christmas Island detainees, has been a high profile anti-sexual violence campaigner and led a 17 day hikoi for men to show they were against sexual and domestic violence.
But Key’s refusal to back down is as calculated as it is provocative.
It should cut deep with Labour that it has allowed Key to outmanouvre it on this issue.
Has anyone seen evidence of this? Any idea of what public opinion is? National is the only party that measures public opinion regularly and Watkins may be regurgitating findings that she has been provided. Or are the MSM cheerleaders just willing to assume that National is always on the right side of public opinion?
I believe that Watkins is wrong. The brave actions of a number of progressive women MPs in talking publicly about the sexual abuse they have suffered and refusing to be silenced in Parliament has changed the issue. John Key’s refusal to apologise to them has clearly shown how cynical his approach to politics and how morally bankrupt he is.
Update: Adding in Hanswurst’s very perceptive comment from Open Mike.
Ms Watkins’ opinion piece on Stuff regarding the current uproar in parliament is a disgrace. Firstly, the entire focus for the first several paragraphs is on the opposition’s walkouts, rather than the substance of the issue (the fact that this is precisely what was predicted by several commentators on this site and elsewhere does not make it any less disgraceful for a senior journalist to adopt that framing). Secondly, she posits that Labour should have taken the view that Key adopted with his “backing the rapists” comment, and criticised him for being soft on the presumed criminals when they arrived on these shores.
This, in its turn, is a twice-craven position to adopt. For one thing, it suggests that the only acceptable view (Morally? Politically? The distinction appears to be of no significance for Watkins) is to support the right-wing desire to be indiscriminately tough on suspected criminals over universal respect for human rights. For another, she attaches the condition that Key is correct in insinuating that the majority of those New Zealanders in detention are offenders of the most serious kind. Even if we generously assume that she is not implying that he is correct in doing so, it would seem that she is basing her opinion in a purportedly serious publication on hearsay from the Prime Minister, whereas it should be her job as a journalist to provide informed opinion, and existing work by other news outlets, such as TV3, suggests that it is not difficult to obtain better information on that subject. Either she is incompetent, misleading by omission, or both. There are no other possible interpretations.
Thirdly, in stating that the opposition is on the wrong side of public opinion on the issue, she once again takes it upon herself to pronounce upon public opinion in a forum which exists precisely for the purpose of informing and influencing public opinion. This may be admissible if she were reporting on an historical issue, whose outcome is a done deal and no longer to be influenced; it may also be admissible if she were to introduce some sort of data such as a poll to make her pronouncements tangibly contestable. As it stands, however, it amounts to saying, “This is what you should think because you think this way already.” The very worst kind of begging the question.