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Valar Qringaomis

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Misleading Guardian Headline of the Day

New Zealand female MPs thrown out of parliament after disclosing sexual assaults

Subheadline: "Women ruled out of order by Speaker for demanding prime minister John Key apologise for accusing opposition of ‘backing the rapists’"

The headline is misleading because it insinuates that disclosing their sexual assaults was why they were *thrown out* of parliament. The headline talks about them being thrown out, not about them walking out.

The subheadling is somewhat misleading because it insinuates that "demanding" that Key apologise was why they were thrown out.

One could read the body of the Guardian article to discover that the MPs were really thrown out for being rowdy and out of order (and that John Key was also told to shut up by the Speaker), but the Hansard is even more revealing:

New Zealand Parliament - Oral Questions — Questions to Ministers (on his shutting down John Key)

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Mr Davis, if you want to put yourself on the side of sex offenders, go ahead, my son, but we will defend New Zealanders. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! I am on my feet...

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: We are not on the side of sex offenders; we are on the side of New Zealanders. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! I am attempting to call the Leader of the Opposition for a supplementary question. It requires some silence before I do so...

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: What the Labour Party is saying is: “To hell with the rest of New Zealanders; these people should be put on a commercial aircraft and despatched to New Zealand.” Well, you back the rapists; I—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! When I rise to my feet, I expect the Prime Minister to then resume his seat...

Grant Robertson: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I was going to wait until the end of the question but the Prime Minister has repeated what he said more directly in an earlier supplementary answer when he accused the Labour Party of “backing the rapists”. I am deeply offended at that and I ask that it be withdrawn. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! This is a political debating chamber. The member may well be offended by that, but in the context of the answers given, I am not going to take that as—[Interruption] Order! I do not want to start this week by asking a member to leave the Chamber, but I want to make it absolutely clear that when I am on my feet, there is no opportunity for members to continue to interject, and that applies to both sides of the Chamber...

Order! The Prime Minister will resume his seat. That is not a point of order. I have dealt with that matter...

Order! [Interruption] Order! On occasions in this House—and I have heard many rulings and I have given some—it is not a matter of whether the member was offended; it is a matter of whether the House was offended. [Interruption] I do not want to see the whole of this left-hand side evacuated. Members may be offended—[Interruption] Order! I have to judge the seriousness of the allegation, and I have determined that the House should not be offended at that. [Interruption] Iain Lees-Galloway, I ask you to leave the Chamber. I can only give so—[Interruption]

And:

New Zealand Parliament - Speaker’s Rulings — Personal Reflections and Unparliamentary Language—Procedure for Objections (on the female MPs being thrown out)

JAMES SHAW (Co-Leader—Green): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Just in reference to your ruling about what was and what was not unparliamentary, in 2003 a Speaker ruled that it was unparliamentary to allege that the Opposition was supporting gangs. That was under Speaker Hunt in 2003. So I find it odd that it is parliamentary language to say that the Opposition is supporting rapists and murderers but it is not parliamentary to say that it is supporting gangs. There are some other examples of unparliamentary language, such as “angry smurf”, “shag spiders”, “Barbie doll”, “bigot”, “chicken”, “monkeys”, “sewer rat”, and “gutless”, and they—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Bring the point of order to a conclusion.

JAMES SHAW: —have all been ruled unparliamentary. I find it extraordinary that you could say that it is parliamentary to say that members of the Opposition are backing rapists and murderers.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I invite the member to go back and carefully study Hansard. The words that he has quoted are in fact Metiria Turei’s interpretation of the words as she felt they occurred. [Interruption] Order! I do not want to start by asking members to leave the Chamber. When I am on my feet I expect silence from all members. As I have ruled, when I interpret the other comments that were made, though they were robust, I do not consider them to be unparliamentary. The first comment, the one at which offence was ultimate taken, was unparliamentary. I should have dealt with it. I did not. It should have been raised with me at that time...

[Interruption]. Order! [Interruption] Order! I am on my feet...

Mr SPEAKER: Was there a further point of order also from Poto Williams? I will hear them all and then rule.

POTO WILLIAMS (Labour—Christchurch East): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. As the victim and survivor of family violence, and an advocate for victims of violence, I take personal offence at the comments of the Prime Minister—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! No—we are now getting to the stage when there could be a series of these points of order. I have ruled that—[Interruption] Order! I do not want to ask the junior Labour whip to leave, but—...

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member did. I saw it. I am trying to allow members to stay in the—[Interruption] Order! [Interruption] Order!

Sue Moroney: It was me, Mr Speaker, and I am happy to go—I am really happy to go.

Mr SPEAKER: OK.

Catherine Delahunty: Point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: No, I just want to deal with Chris Hipkins. If I am assured that it is a new point of order and not the same one, then I will hear it. Chris Hipkins, it is a matter of custom in this House that, as with any issues such as these, if offence is taken then it must be dealt with immediately. It cannot be dealt with subsequently, otherwise we would have all sorts of campaigns in here with people going over their Hansards weeks and weeks in the past, taking subsequent offence, and then requesting a withdrawal to be delivered. I will hear from Catherine Delahunty on the assurance that it is a fresh point of order, and not in any way the types of points of order—

CATHERINE DELAHUNTY (Green): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It is a fresh point of order; it is not a campaign, Mr Speaker. As a victim of sexual—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! The member will resume her seat. [Interruption] Order! No. I am moving on from here. I was assured that it was a fresh point of order; I have just been let down by Catherine Delahunty. I will hear from the Hon Nanaia Mahuta, but I certainly hope that she is not flouting the rules of this House.

Hon NANAIA MAHUTA (Labour—Hauraki-Waikato): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. As a trustee of the Waikato Women’s Refuge, Te Whakaruruhau, I take personal offence—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume her seat immediately. I now will require any member who takes a point of order along the same lines to immediately leave the Chamber.

MARAMA DAVIDSON (Green): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. As a victim of—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member—[Interruption] Order! The member will leave—[Interruption] Order! The member will leave the Chamber.

Marama Davidson withdrew from the Chamber.

CLARE CURRAN (Labour—Dunedin South): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. As somebody who has experienced an attempted—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! I now require the member to leave the Chamber.

Clare Curran withdrew from the Chamber.

Dr MEGAN WOODS (Labour—Wigram): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I take offence at the Prime Minister’s statement—

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Dr MEGAN WOODS: —and require that he apologise.

Mr SPEAKER: Then the member must also, for consistency, leave the Chamber.

Dr Megan Woods withdrew from the Chamber.
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