Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Gordon Campbell on Paul Quinn’s rape comments, and health

Gordon Campbell on Paul Quinn’s rape comments, and health spending


Now that the dust has settled on National MP Paul Quinn’s outrageous comments about women and rape
made on TVNZ7’s Back Benches programme – “I think there’s a real issue with young ladies getting drunk” was the money quote – can we share some of the blame around? Of the four people involved in the discussion (Quinn, presenter Wallace Chapman, Act’s Heather Roy and Labour’s Trevor Mallard) only one of them came out entirely with credit.

Chapman in fact, came close to what in other contexts might be called entrapment. Sure, Quinn said it and he deserves everything he’s got on The Hand Mirror, and elsewhere for revealing the shabby contents of a mind already responsible for last year’s petty, vicious legislation denying prisoners the vote.

Yet Chapman – within the rowdy, hang loose atmosphere that the programme promotes – had been urging him to say something outrageous. In his question, Chapman virtually endorsed a Canadian police chief’s claim that what women wear these days means they’re asking for it, and also suggested that regardless of what the right answer might be, a lot of his viewers thought along those lines, too.

As in this question: Do you think there’s something to this idea that they kind of ask for it, just in a little way? Because I know that the viewers watching this will be saying that.”

Of course, all Quinn had to do was not indulge the rape excuse that Chapman was plying him with even if – as Chapman was also intimating – this could make Quinn look like a bit of a prig to viewers. Quinn tried (unsuccessfully) to shift to what must have looked to him like safer ground: the drinking habits of young women. In reality of course, he was merely wheeling up a different version of “blame the victim”. Alas, Act’s Heather Roy all but endorsed Quinn’s position (adding the drinking habits of young men for good measure) in yet another example of how this bunch is only a party of liberty and principle when the freedom to do business is at stake.

Chapman, has so far pretty much escaped scrutiny for what is really an age-old interviewing technique: to frame a bigoted position temptingly in the hope this will induce the politician to let down their guard and endorse the question, thus enabling them to be bagged for their bigotry. This form of asymmetric warfare must be a particularly tempting tactic in the noisy, unscripted climate of Back Benches. In this case, Quinn’s desire to look like one of the boys put him on side with the very worst male attitudes and actions. Should Chapman be praised for leading Quinn on to this revelation, or bagged for feigning being something of a fellow traveler? Journalism can be a dirty business at times, but someone has to do it.

As mentioned, the only person to come out entirely clean and shining from the entire episode was Trevor Mallard, who said: “I just want to, can I… It can never be an excuse to rape a women because of what she wears or what she’s had to drink. That is just wrong.” At which point, both Quinn and Roy could and should have swung in behind, and seconded that sentiment. But they didn’t.

As Mallard says, nothing – repeat nothing – absolves men from their responsibility not to rape. Yet since rape is about power, it is also a good idea not to be drunk, alone and vulnerable in a public space – no matter how unfair it is that women are infinitely more likely to be preyed upon. One does not have to endorse Paul Quin’s bigotry to hope women will protect themselves – and each other – in public, and that men will stop other men from treating drunk women as fair game.

***

Sinking Lid Euthanasia?

Given the demographic reality of an ageing population, this RNZ report on Counties Manakau District Health Board research on the relatively high cost of treating patients during their last year of life is utterly chilling. Just as chilling were the comments made to RNZ by medical academics about whether such spending is a “wise and judicious” way of spending health money, and whether there may be better ways of spending it.

Interesting that none of the commenters in the RNZ report argued the need for greater health spending as being an ethical imperative if we wish to remain a humane society. Instead, the medical experts’ contribution to the ‘debate’ was to query whether spending quite as much money on dying people or sick children was sustainable, and to urge the public to regard this ‘debate’ as inevitable. Talk about framing the issue within the current political boundaries, even before a sham debate even begins. Depressing.

********

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Forgetting Citizenship: Australia Suspends Flights From India

As India is being devastated by COVID-19 cases that have now passed a daily rate of 400,000, affluent and callous Australia has taken the decision to suspend all flights coming into the country till mid-month. The decision was reached by the Morrison ... More>>

Digitl: UK Spy Chief: “The West Has To Go It Alone On Tech"

“Cybersecurity is an increasingly strategic issue that needs a whole-nation approach. The rules are changing in ways not always controlled by government. More>>

The Conversation: From Five Eyes To Six? Japan’s Push To Join The West’s Intelligence Alliance

Craig Mark , Kyoritsu Women's University As tensions with China continue to grow, Japan is making moves to join the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance. This week, Japan’s ambassador to Australia, Shingo Yamagami, told The Sydney Morning ... More>>

The Conversation: Without The Right Financial Strategies, NZ’s Climate Change Efforts Will Remain Unfinished Business

When it comes to climate change, money talks. Climate finance is critical for enabling a low-emissions transition. This involves investment and expenditure — public, private, domestic and transnational — that demonstrably contributes to climate ... More>>

Dr Terrence Loomis: Does Petroleum Industry Spying Really Matter?

Opinion: Nicky Hager’s latest revelations about security firm Thompson and Clark’s ‘spying’ on climate activists and environmental organisations on behalf of the oil and gas industry and big GHG emitters makes entertaining reading. But it does ... More>>

Mixed Sight: New Zealand, The Five Eyes And China

The Five Eyes arrangement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand has always resembled a segregated, clandestine club. Focused on the sharing of intelligence between countries of supposedly like mind, it has shown that ... More>>