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Jami-Lee Ross “taken into mental health care”

This isn’t surprising. A bit sad in a way, but …

NewstalkZB: Jami-Lee Ross taken into mental health care

Jami-Lee Ross has been taken into mental health care

Newstalk ZB can confirm the rogue National MP was taken in by police.

He was taken to a facility in Auckland.

A spokesperson for the National Party said in a statement: “Over the past several weeks the National Party has taken seriously the mental health concerns raised by Mr Ross and the medical professionals he has been involved with.

“That has included seeking advice from medical professionals and involving Police wherever necessary to ensure support is made available to Mr Ross. It would not be appropriate to comment further.”

When he talked to media on Tuesday and Wednesday, he said that his doctor had cleared him and he was feeling healthy. He rejected comments from National deputy leader Paula Bennett that he was suffering from mental health issues, saying that his doctor had called Bennett to tell her that he was healthy.

It is unclear if Ross was admitted under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act, which means that someone can be admitted to a safe place and given treatment against their will if their safety is considered at risk.

Something like this seemed kind of inevitable as things spiralled out of control for Ross, politically, personally, credibility-wise – his life had become a real mess.

I hope he gets the care and support he needs.


Update: Andrew Geddis had posted at Pundit on what National’s options were with Ross remaining in Parliament, but he has updated his post after this latest development.

[Update: According to media reports, Jami-Lee Ross has been taken into mental health care (i.e. has not voluntarily committed himself for treatment). This has two consequences for my already written commentary on the party hopping law (which remains in place below):

One, it means that National will almost certainly not use the party hopping law in relation to him. Not because Ross’ commital changes my original legal analysis at all, but rather because no political party is going to force an unwell MP who is undergoing treatment out of Parliament. They just aren’t.

Two, it brings the Electoral Act 1990, s 55(1)(i) into play, in that Ross’ seat automatically becomes vacant “if he … becomes mentally disordered, as provided in section 56.” I am not knowledgable enough regarding mental health law to comment in any detail on this possibility, so I’ll reproduce s 56 here for you to see:

(1) Where a member of Parliament is, or is deemed to be, subject to a compulsory treatment order made under Part 2 of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, the court by which the order is made shall, as soon as may be, give a notice to the Speaker of the making of the order.

(2) Where a member of Parliament is received or detained in a hospital in accordance with an inpatient order made under Part 2 of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, the person in charge of that hospital shall, as soon as may be, give notice to the Speaker of the reception or detention.

(3) Where the Speaker receives a notice under subsection (1) or subsection (2), the Speaker shall forthwith transmit the notice to the Director-General of Health, who, together with some medical practitioner named by the Speaker, shall without delay visit and examine the member to whom the notice relates, and shall report to the Speaker whether the member is mentally disordered.

(4) If the report is to the effect that the member is mentally disordered the Speaker shall, at the expiration of 6 months from the date of the report if Parliament is then in session, and, if not, then as soon as may be after the date of the commencement of the next ensuing session, require the said Director-General, together with the said medical practitioner or some other medical practitioner named by the Speaker, again to visit and examine the member; and, if they report that he or she is still mentally disordered, the Speaker shall forthwith lay both reports before the House of Representatives, and thereupon the seat of the member shall be vacant.

So, in essence, if Ross gets committed into compulsory mental health care by a Family Court Judge, and if he’s still in that care six months from now, then his seat becomes vacant at that point.]

Ross, Bridges and the party hopping law (updated for recent developments)


Update 2 – NZH  Jami-Lee Ross ‘sectioned’ to mental health facility in Auckland

Jami-Lee Ross has been sectioned to an Auckland mental health facility, following a tumultuous week in which he traded insults and allegations with the National Party and came clean to his wife about extra-marital affairs.

Ross was taken in by police on Sunday afternoon, and a source close to Ross told the Herald that Ross was “not in good shape” and “had been sectioned … people who go willingly aren’t sectioned”.

Under the Mental Health Act, a person can be sectioned to a safe place against their will and given treatment if their safety is considered at risk.

But the source told the Herald that the National Party was warned about pushing Ross too far on Monday, when Bridges and Bennett met with Ross about the PwC inquiry into Bridges’ leaked travel expenses.

Concerns were raised about Ross’ mental health three weeks ago, when Ross took leave from Parliament for “personal health issues” and later said he had a mental breakdown over being accused of inappropriate behaviour towards women.

Ross’ doctors were in contact with Bridges and Bennett and, the source said, “were told if any more pressure or stress was headed his way, there was a real likelihood of this incident [being sectioned] occurring”.

“Two weeks later, when they confronted him about the report of the leak, the medical advice was reiterated. And they said they were going to release the information in half an hour.”

A very difficult thing for National to deal with. They are likely to get hammered no matter how they dealt with it.

 

 

What sort of truce could National and Ross have?

There have been some calls for some sort of a truce between National and Jami-Lee Ross. After what has happened this week what sort of a truce would be possible? Could Ross be trusted anyway?

And some scepticism is warranted given who is calling for a truce. Ross has little if anything to negotiate with, and national would be taking a huge risk if they gave anything to Ross now.

Cameron Slater: Farrar follows my lead and calls for a truce, pity is the party appears to want to destroy itself

The other day I suggested a truce, or the intervention of a third party to sort out the mess inside National.

National would be wise to get someone to broker a peace treaty with him before they lose most of their front bench.

Now David Farrar has suggested the same thing:

National has no good options in dealing with JLR. The question is which is the least bad option.

Of course the best way out would be a truce. If somehow JLR and National can find a way forward that would be a good thing. But the problem is that JLR has so damaged himself I’m genuinely not sure what National can do to reverse the harm he caused himself. But if he has a proposal, then it should be considered.

Sadly, it appears that National wants to burn itself to the ground.

It seems to be Ross who is the one lighting fires and pouring petrol on them.

Paula Bennett, it seems, is behind the spreading of the lurid smears to Newsroom.

Actually it seems to be Slater who is trying to spread lurid smears, including about Bennett, someone he has been trying to discredit and smear since she became deputy leader and longer.

Newsroom have made it clear their year long investigation into Jami-Lee Ross was independent – and if Ross hadn’t gone ‘rogue’ their revelations when they published them would have put a lot of pressure and responsibility on National and Bennett,

Wise heads in National need to prevail. They should take up David Farrar’s suggestion and my suggestion and start talking to each other instead of past each other.

But Ross has backed himself into a very tight corner. He would presumably want something from a truce, but what could National offer? It would be extremely damaging to the party if they did anything but act strongly against what Ross has been doing and says he will continue to do.

If Bridges compromises now in his approach to Ross I think his leadership will become untenable. Perhaps that’s what Slater is trying to manipulate.

Slater wanted Bridges to fail in his leadership bid, and he has tried to discredit and smear Bridges since he became leader.

He is as trustworthy as Ross.

Proposing a truce between Ross and National should be viewed with a lot of suspicion. If it is a genuine attempt to broker a deal it suggests that Ross has few other options but to try to negotiate a truce, or keep digging the bloody great hole he has dug for himself.

But National would be taking a huge risk if they are seen to be doing anything to help Ross.


There’s quite discussion on this at WO. A number of comments point out the obvious risks to National of any compromise with Ross.

2eyesee:

I feel that JLR is such damaged goods that any form of truce would be even more damaging to National. Such a truce would publicly legitimise JRL as part of the National Party, and I don’t think National can afford that association.

If they can’t cut JRL loose, the next best option is for him to remain a pariah. Each new conversation release is attracting less and less interest, and he’ll become largely ignored before long.

spanishbride/Slater’sBride:

Really? Every single unfaithful politician and journalist is sweating bullets right now. They broke a long standing rule of politics which was to NEVER report on affairs. Forget the political revelations, if they do not make peace with him he can return the favour and do to them all what they did to him.

2eyesee:

Extramarital affairs between consenting adults is not the issue here – it’s JRL’s abuse of power and bullying behaviour. If National came to a truce with JRL it would be legitimising that behaviour, which would be very damaging for National.

spanishbride/Slater’sBride:

A truce does not mean taking him back. It means a quiet behind the scenes exit

And trust Ross, who has already shown he is willing to record ‘quiet behind the scenes’ conversations and use them to threaten and make false claims?

I think that spanishbride may have been sucked in by someone here into promoting a truce that is likely to be an attempt to compromise bridges even more than he is now. If any secret scheme to try to silence Ross came out Bridges would be right where Slater wants him, out of the leadership.

Odd Stuff on MP ‘best before date’

It is not new asking whether MP terms should be limited. What is new is some confusing stuff on it from Stuff. They have two different links to the same story, with different headlines and different text.Once at the link both these stories have the same headline, but the URLs show the link headlines. And there are some text differences.

  • Stamp MPs with a best-before date
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/107912277/andrea-vance-mps-should-carry-useby-dates

    Is it time to stamp a best before date on our MPs?

    Simon Bridges brutally retired some of his long-serving MPs in an indelicate, secretly recorded, conversation with Jami-Lee Ross.

    Once people become members of that exclusive club – being a politician – they are reluctant to give it up.

    Of our current current crop, 16 have been hanging around Parliament for more than a decade, including leaders Jacinda Ardern and Simon Bridges. Six have been drawing an MPs salary, on and off, since the 1990s. Winston Peters claims the record – first elected in 1978.

    Ross himself has been an MP for more than seven years. He won’t be remembered for any exceptional achievements in office.

    Time-servers risk staying in office long past their prime. The more comfortable they become in their Beehive offices, with staff, perks and tax-payer funded travel – the more distant they become from those they represent.

    They come bursting into Parliament with big ideas and naive ideology but are eventually worn down by the grind and disappointment of real politik. Most get jaded, cynical, and too involved in playing the game.

    Ross’ spectacular self-immolation stems from his disappointment in not making it far enough up the greasy pole

    Far too much time spent in the capital’s cafes and bars makes MPs weak to the corruptive influence of lobbyists and special interests. They become beholden to the type of politics that’s leaving voters frustrated and disillusioned.

    Term limits would allow MPs to spend less time worrying about re-election or scrabbling up the caucus ranks. More policy-making, less plotting. They’d be able to take unpalatable but necessary decisions without fear of being punished in the polling booths.

    New blood is a good thing, especially for party leaders. The ranks are automatically refreshed with new talent, free from factional alliances, and all without rancour and sulking.

    There would be no need to carry incompetent MPs or prise them out of safe-seat with other career inducements. Those past their prime would be saved the indignity of being “retired” by the party.

    Politics would no longer be seen as a comfy job-for-life, rather a short spell in public service.

    But draining the swamp does come with many problems. There’s a lot to be said for experience. Navigating the labyrinth of Parliament’s procedures and rules takes time. Crafting legislation and regulations that solve complex problems with no unintended consequences is a skill learned on the job.

    Swapping out acumen for inexperienced lawmakers might not best serve the public.

    Voter choice is also restricted when a candidate is barred from being on the ballot.

    It’s also not easy to step away from Parliament – the loss of position, status, and perks is painful and usually involuntary.

    Elections should be the best mechanism for dumping ineffective MPs from office. However, a shallow talent pool makes it easier for parties to offer up incumbents and retreads instead of searching out new candidates.

    So, if not a use-by date, perhaps our system needs a sell-by date. If you buy that product,it’s safe. But it serves as a warning to retailers: time to get it off the shelves.

  • Stamp MPs with a best-before date
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/107785506/stamp-mps-with-a-bestbefore-date

    Is it time to stamp a best before date on our MPs?

    Once politicians become members of that exclusive Wellington club, they are reluctant to give it up.

    Of our current current crop, 16 have been hanging around Parliament for more than a decade, including leaders Jacinda Ardern and Simon Bridges. Six have been drawing an MP’s salary, on and off, since the 1990s. Winston Peters claims the record – first elected in 1978.

    Time-servers risk staying in office long past their prime. The more comfortable they become in their Beehive offices, with staff, perks and tax-payer funded travel – the more distant they become from those they represent.

    They come bursting into Parliament with big ideas and naive ideology, but are eventually worn down by the grind and disappointment of real politics. Most get jaded, cynical, and too involved in playing the game.

    Far too much time spent in Wellington’s cafes and bars makes MPs weak to the corruptive influence of lobbyists and special interests. They become beholden to the type of politics that’s leaving voters frustrated and disillusioned.

    Term limits would allow MPs to spend less time worrying about re-election or scrabbling up the caucus ranks. More policy-making, less plotting. They’d be able to take unpalatable but necessary decisions without fear of being punished in the polling booths.

    New blood is a good thing, especially for party leaders. The ranks are automatically refreshed with new talent, free from factional alliances, and all without rancour and sulking.

    There would be no need to carry incompetent MPs or prise them out of safe-seat with other career inducements. Those past their prime would be saved the indignity of being ‘retired’ by the party.

    Politics would no longer be seen as a comfy job-for-life, rather a short spell in public service.

    But draining the swamp does come with many problems. There’s a lot to be said for experience. Navigating the labyrinth of Parliament’s procedures and rules takes time. Crafting legislation and regulations that solve complex problems with no unintended consequences is a skill learned on the job.

    Swapping out acumen for inexperienced lawmakers might not best serve the public.

    Voter choice is also restricted when a candidate is barred from being on the ballot.

    It’s also not easy to step away from Parliament – the loss of position, status, and perks is painful and usually involuntary.

    Elections should be the best mechanism for dumping ineffective MPs from office. However, a shallow talent pool makes it easier for parties to offer up incumbents and retreads instead of searching out new candidates.

    So, if not a use-by date, perhaps our system needs a sell-by date. If you buy that product, it’s safe. But it serves as a warning to retailers: time to get it off the shelves.

Either the top article had text added, or the bottom article had text removed.

In any case “Simon Bridges brutally retired some of his long-serving MPs in an indelicate, secretly recorded” is inaccurate. Both David Carter and Chris Finlayson are not “reluctant to give it up”, they have both confirmed that they intend leaving Parliament (Carter at the end of this term, Finlayson by the end of this year).

John Key was not reluctant to give it up, neither were MPs like Simon Power and Stephen Joyce.

Of course some are, like Jami-Lee Ross, but he is hardly a good example. Vance says “Ross himself has been an MP for more than seven years. He won’t be remembered for any exceptional achievements in office.”

MPs are past their ‘best-before’ after only seven years? Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson and in fact the whole Labour front bench if not Labour Caucus have been in Parliament longer than seven years.

One of Labour’s better performing Ministers is David Parker, and he’s been in Parliament since 2002, which is 16 years.

The deputy Prime Minister is the longest serving MP in Parliament. Without him NZ First would almost certainly not be there.

Winston Peters’ best before date is probably 1 January 2000.

But he has right to continue on in Parliament as long as enough voters keep deciding he should remain. And voters should continue to make these decisions.

Should political journalists have ‘best before’ dates?

Who leaked, and was there an accomplice?

It appears that most people assume that Jami-Lee Ross is lying when he denies the leak of Simon Bridges’ expenses that set off the spiralling saga that resulted in chaos this week.

What if Ross is right about this (he has misled and lied about other things)? It would be hard to imagine that there was a completely unrelated leaker involved, especially as Ross has admitted leaking subsequent information.

So a likely answer is that Ross had an accomplice. Someone else may have done the actual leaking of Bridges’ expenses – however this does not rule out the possibility that Ross supplied them with the information.

Tova O’Brien at Newshub reported on the initial leak so will know who provided her with the information, so it’s worth looking to Newshub coverage.

Newshub (20 October) – The Jami-Lee Ross and expenses leak mega-scandal: A timeline

August 13 – Newshub reveals Simon Bridges’ expenses a few days before they were due to be made public.

August 14 – Simon Bridges says he’s confident the source of the leak isn’t anyone in the National Party. He calls for an independent review.

If Ross used a proxy leaker then this may technically be correct.

August 16 – Mr Bridges, Speaker Trevor Mallard and Newshub political editor Tova O’Brien receive a text message from the leaker asking for the inquiry to be called off as they’re suffering from a “prolonged mental illness”. The sender also claims to be a member of the National Party caucus. None of this is reported until a week later.

The sender is apparently Ross, but has at least implied he was acting on someone else’s behalf. This in turn implies that he knows who the leaker was.

August 18 – Right-wing blogger Cameron Slater says there is “back channel chatter” the leaker is a member of the National Party caucus. He doesn’t name names.

What Slater claims has to be treated with caution. He likes to big note and tries to sound like he is deeply involved in action, but often just hints and often doesn’t front up with evidence.

Coincidentally perhaps Slater is known to be suffering from a “prolonged mental illness”.

September 15 – Simon Bridges says if it turns out an MP leaked his expenses, he wouldn’t necessarily sack them. He said he’d be “incredibly disappointed” if it turned out to be a National MP or staffer, but it wasn’t “worth getting too hung-up on”.

September 19 – Winston Peters tells Parliament everyone there already knows who the leaker is, while looking at Jami-Lee Ross’ vacant seat.

What Peters claims has to be treated with caution. He often makes accusations and insinuations without fronting upo with evidence.

He said if Simon Bridges doesn’t tell the public who the leaker is, he will. Blogger Cameron Slater says MPs and “well-informed” journalists know who the leaker is, as they’re being “shunned by caucus”.

As is common with Peters he didn’ back up his bluster – but it’s interesting that both Slater and Peters are making similar claims they know the leaker’s identity. More about this in another post.

September 30 – Winston Peters uses his platform at NZ First’s 25th anniversary celebrations to say Simon Bridges will be rolled as National Party leader before the 2020 election.

So, did Peters know that Ross was involved in what looks like an elaborate plan (that included Ross recording conversations with Bridges at least as far back as May, where Ross appears to try to entrap Bridges) to discredit Bridges and force him out of the leadership?

October 2 – Simon Bridges announces Jami-Lee Ross will be stepping down from the National Party front bench and taking leave from Parliament to deal with some personal health issues. Mr Bridges says it has nothing to do with the expenses inquiry.

October 4 – Jami-Lee Ross is reportedly “pissed off” with Simon Bridges for calling his problems “embarrassing”

October 15 – One of the most intense weeks in New Zealand political history begins with The AM Show’s Duncan Garner confronting Simon Bridges with a fresh set of leaks.

Later that day, right before Mr Bridges was due to reveal the inquiry’s findings, Mr Ross launches a pre-emptive attack on Twitter. He said he and the National leader had a falling out, denied being the leaker and accused Mr Bridges of breaking the law.

Mr Bridges minutes later says the inquiry had found Mr Ross was the likely leaker.

Also from Newshub yesterday: The ultimate guide to all the players in the Jami-Lee Ross vs Simon Bridges showdown

The headline says ‘all the players’, but the article states:

Here are the main players in the continuing saga.

One could assume that the original leaker was a ‘main player’.

Jami-Lee Ross – former National MP for Botany

That’s an odd description. Ross is a former National MP but he is still the MP for Botany (now an independent MP).

Minutes before his leader was to address media and out Mr Ross as the alleged leaker of his expenses, Mr Ross sent a series of tweets accusing Mr Bridges of falsely pinning blame on him.

Other ‘main players’ mention include Ross of course plus Simon Bridges, Paula Bennett, and Simon Lusk could be a main player. It is still not clear if Winston Peters is a main player.

There are a number of others named who seem far from being main players – National MPs Todd McClay Maureen Pugh, Judith Collins and Mark Mitchell.

Also named are Peter Goodfellow (National Party president), Greg Hamilton (National Party general manager), Aaron Bhatnagar, Zhang Yikun, and June Brigg (Pugh’s mother). They were only involved after accusations by Ross of donation problems and the release of a recording. I don’t think there is any suspicion that Pugh’s mum was the leaker.

There is no mention of any association with ‘leaker’ other than Ross.

Stuff in Personal and professional pain: Widening repercussions for MP Jami-Lee Ross

One long week later, Ross still emphatically denies he was the leaker.

​The person who started it all may still be out there – and if so, that person is probably looking on absolutely incredulous.

Maybe, maybe not. Few people seem to trust Ross, and most seem to now assume that he was the leaker despite his denials. If he got someone to do the dirty work for him to create some sort of ‘plausible denial’ it may be immaterial in the whole scheme of things.

The investigation that Bridges insisted on says that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ it looks like Ross was the leaker.

If not he was at least likely to have been involved.

While Cameron Slater is notoriously unreliable with what he claims, he has repeated a number of times he has known that Ross was ‘the leaker’ – like “He’s the leaker. Just accept that. I’ve known for months. The report confirms precisely what I have known.”

In any case, while the initial leak precipitated this chain of events it was not a big deal. What has become the big deal is Ross’ obvious big play to discredit and depose Bridges, and to cause as much mayhem and damage for National that he can.

Whether Ross leaked the expenses or not, whether he leaked them too someone who leaked them, is not important now.

What is important is that Ross appears to have been planning an attack on Bridges and National for months, and the leak was just used as a way of trying to precipitate chaos.

 

Catholic abuse issue festers on with more insiders speaking up

Even the official Catholic line is for a significant change in approach to world-wide scandals of abuse that have been swept under the church gowns for decades.

The Pope is under increasing pressure and criticism:

The ‘gravely negligent’ charge (and similar) is becoming common, including in New Zealand. There is a campaign to change the name of a Dunedin High School named after a Bishop who effectively allowed priests to continue abusing.

In August:  Not ready to condemn Kavanagh

The Bishop of Dunedin is not yet ready to condemn a predecessor, but says the actions of a priest who aided a paedophile Christian Brother would ”definitely not” be appropriate today.

Bishop Michael Dooley yesterday defended former Dunedin bishop John Kavanagh, who had jurisdiction over Fr Magnus Murray and Br Desmond Fay at the time of their offending in Dunedin.

Fr Murray, who in 2003 admitted offences against four Dunedin boys dating back to 1958-72, was sent to Australia by Bishop Kavanagh for treatment after details of his offending were raised in 1972.

Bishop Kavanagh later endorsed Fr Murray’s return to public ministry in the North Island, where more victims have since emerged.

Bishop Kavanagh also had ultimate jurisdiction over Br Desmond Fay, who was principal at Christian Brothers Junior School when he allegedly abused a young boy who later committed suicide.

Br Fay, who also taught at St Edmund’s School in South Dunedin, was sent overseas after the intervention of a Dunedin Catholic priest, Fr Kevin Kean.

Moving abusing priests on to other locations where abuse continued seems to be a common story.

ODT last Thursday: Emotions high amid calls for name change

Tears mixed with calls for healing as more than 50 people gathered in Dunedin to demand a new name for Kavanagh College last night.

The meeting was organised by former Kavanagh College pupils Christian McNab (25) and Sam Murphy (26) following ODT Insight revelations about sexual offending within the Dunedin diocese.

Much of the abuse occurred under the watch of Dunedin Catholic bishop at the time John Kavanagh, from whom the college took its name in 1989.

And, as current Dunedin Bishop Michael Dooley watched from the audience, survivors and their supporters stood, one by one, to share their stories and join the call for a name change last night.

Board member Paul O’Neill told last night’s meeting the decision was ultimately for Bishop Dooley to make, but the issue was being considered ”seriously”.

So one bishop gets to make the decision. A bishop who has so far failed to adequately acknowledge the severity of the situation for the Catholic Church in Dunedin and in New Zealand. This seems to be a failing that goes right to the top, the Pope.

But some in the church are prepared to stand up. Last Monday Alexandra’s priest speaks out

A Central Otago priest has broken his silence by criticising the Catholic Church’s handling of historic sexual abuse allegations.

Alexandra parish priest Fr Vaughan Leslie said the church’s response, within New Zealand and overseas, had helped fuel the “abuse crisis” now engulfing the church.

It had failed to remove men from ministry when credible complaints were received, and “misguided protectionism” had occurred “at the expense of truth and justice”, he said.

The response also highlighted the need for culture change within the church hierarchy, here and overseas, to put an end to a situation in which “in-groups of clergy hold all the reins of power”.

“I speak out because I love the Catholic Church, but not always the way she is run.

Saying this as a priest could well challenge some members of the Catholic hierarchy, but not doing so makes me guilty of saying the status quo is OK – which I do not believe [will do] if we are to regain our credibility, particularly in the moral area.

“Only when this occurs will victims of all forms of church-based abuse be able to trust the church again and have confidence that her processes will effectively protect the vulnerable, now and in the future.”

He had been compelled to speak out once before, in 2003, when he wrote to Dunedin paedophile priest Fr Magnus Murray in prison, urging him to seek forgiveness for his “truly evil” crimes.

Fr Murray had responded by complaining to the church hierarchy from his prison cell, and Fr Leslie was reprimanded for his actions.

He would not name the church official who reprimanded him, but said it was now clear clergy needed to hold other clergy and the church leadership – himself included – to account.

I don’t know if church leaders are capable of dealing with this properly. Praying amongst themselves doesn’t cut it.

Ageing bishops seem lout of touch with the damage this is doing their church. Their reluctance to publicly hold people to account leaves a further stain – are they trying to avoid responsibility for hiding and perpetuating past abuses?

 

 

 

 

Hung Parliament after Liberal seat loss in Australia

Things just got even tougher for the Liberals in Australia after they lost a by-election in the Wentworth electorate after ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull exited Parliament.

The Liberals had been clinging to a one seat majority, but Australia now has a hung Parliament.

news.com.au – Independent Kerryn Phelps claims victory over Liberal candidate Dave Sharma for Malcolm Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth

Independent Kerryn Phelps is ahead on the two-candidate preferred vote by 54.39 per cent compared to Liberal candidate Dave Sharma on 45.61 per cent.

Dr Phelps has 17,500 primary votes compared to Mr Sharma’s 20,712 votes.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said about 80 per cent of preferences from other candidates were going to Dr Phelps and so she should win easily. He called the by-election in her favour about 7.15pm, not long after polling booths closed at 6pm.

It’s the first time in its 117-year history that the Liberals have lost the Wentworth seat and commentators are already predicting it will spell chaos within the party, and Malcolm Turnbull will be blamed.

There was a 27 per cent swing away from the Liberal Party, the biggest swing against a government in a by-election in the history of federal parliament.

It means the Morrison Government will lose its one-seat majority and Australia now has a hung parliament. The Liberal Party will have to work with crossbenchers to get its legislation passed.

Talk about a rock star reception

Kerryn Phelps was greeted by a roar of jubilation as she arrived at her victory party at North Bondi Surf Life Savers club, and the noise didn’t die down for five minutes.

Dr Phelps took her time moving to the front of the room, stopping to hug and high five supporters. At several points she even broke out dancing, and an impromptu moshpit promptly formed around her.

“I am humbled by this privilege and I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said, before descending back into the crowd.

Scott Morrison’s speech slammed

Morrison is the current Liberal leader and Prime Minister.

While the Prime Minister’s speech to Liberal supporters at Dave Sharma’s election party was heartily cheered, it has not gone down well on social media.

Many said it showed a lack of humility and that Mr Morrison had not understood the message from voters.

In contrast, Mr Sharma’s speech was praised for being gracious and respectful.

Mr Morrison’s defiant speech drew frequent heckles from the rowdier attendees.

Beaten Liberal candidate Dave Sharma got a more respectful reception, perhaps because his speech was notably magnanimous — not only towards Dr Phelps, but towards the old member of Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull.

Loss will be blamed on Malcolm Turnbull

The disastrous by-election result for the Liberal Party is already being blamed on the former prime minister and Wentworth MP.

Mr Turnbull was noticeably absent from the campaign and his son was openly encouraging people to vote for Kerryn Phelps.

Australian associate editor Chris Kenny said he thought the repercussions of the loss would be extraordinary.

“There’s going to be incredible turmoil within the Liberal Party as the blame game plays out,” he told Sky News.

“I think Malcolm Turnbull’s reputation is going to be absolutely trashed.”

I think that the Liberal Party needs to bear a lot of responsibility for the blame, but politicians are known for often not acknowledging their own failings. They probably don’t see their own failings.

But this is a big failure for the Liberals.

news.com.au – Voters scoff at Liberal Party’s tactical blunder in Wentworth

THE Liberal Party appears to have made a catastrophic tactical blunder in the Wentworth by-election.

Its core argument to voters was obvious to anyone who visited a polling station today. Huge signs warned of the consequences that would follow a victory for independent Kerryn Phelps, saying Labor would ultimately benefit.

“Labor + Phelps, don’t risk it,” the most common poster read.

The implication, hammered into voters heads all week by Liberal candidate Dave Sharma, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and even retired party legend John Howard, was that Dr Phelps would cause chaos in parliament.

In other words, the biggest reason to vote Liberal was “stability”.

The Australian Liberals are about as stable as a Jami-Lee Ross.

Media watch – Sunday

21 October 2018

MediaWatch

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Open Forum – Sunday

21 October 2018

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