Jordan Carter has blogged on the now well publicised accusations over what was said and denied at the Rainbow Wellington election forum. A number of Labour Party candidates and supporters have all accused ACT candidate Stephen Whittington of getting it wrong.
Well to para-phrase Mandy Rice-Davies, they would say that, wouldn’t they. But Green MP Kevin Hague has backed Whittington’s version of events. Now unless one subscribes to Labour’s mad theory of a vast right wing and non-labour left wing conspiracy, I think we can trust Kevin Hague as an honest witness.
With that in mind, Jordan may regret the title of his blog post – a clarification for some liars out there.
Does this mean he is calling Kevin Hague a liar?
I get a mention also, which I need to respond to.
This has been amplified today by that well known defender of the rights of queer people, David Farrar, on his blog KiwiBlog, and by Whittington himself in a media release. The result is this Stuff story “Labour accused of homophobia cover-up” by Andrea Vance.
Now the reference to me as a “well known defender of the rights of queer people” is obviously meant to be sarcastic and imply I am insincere when it comes to this issue, and just using it to score political points.
I think my record stands for itself. I have blogged in supports of gay issues such as civil unions, gay marriage and gay adoption on scores and scores of occasions. I actively lobbied in favour of the Civil Union Bill, assisting Tim Barnett with it. I blogged in 2004 how great the Civil Unions Bill party was to celebrate, and how great it was to be a very small part of helping something positive happen.
Unlike many in Labour I have been willing to criticise MPs from my own party on these issues. At the time of the Civil Unions Bill I blogged somewhat critically of some of the speeches from MPs against, including National MPs. The following week my public criticisms were raised in Caucus (so I am told, I don’t attend of course) by some of the MPs I had criticised, asking for something to be done to shut me up.
Also just last year I blogged quite harsh criticisms of a Cabinet Minister for comments which I thought were taunting a gay MP. It actually turned out (once I saw the video and wasn’t just going off the NZPA report) that I had misinterpreted the comments, and it was a fairly good natured exchange, so I actually was unfairly critical of the National Minister. But again, note I was publicly critical.
So even though Jordan was using the term sarcastically, I think I have been consistent in my advocacy on gay rights. Perhaps my crime is actually being heterosexual and a National supporter – after all how can a straight right winger be anything but insincere on gay issues?
Farrar’s allegations are nonsense. He (and Whittington) are lying when they say that Grant and Charles denied Trevor’s ‘tinkerbell’ stuff. They did no such thing.
Well let me quote Kevin Hague:
Green MP Kevin Hague, who was also at the meeting, backed Mr Whittington’s version of events. “My sense was that Charles and Grant were denying that Mallard and Cosgrove had abused Chris Finlayson in a homophobic way.
Also Jordan and Grant’s version of events are not even backed by Chauvel himself. In the Herald he said:
Mr Chauvel said he had never heard anybody refer to Mr Finlayson by that name “and if I did hear it, I would tell them that was unacceptable”.
So Charles was denying anyone had ever said it. So now the list of liars is Stephen Whittington, myself, Kevin Hague and Charles himself.
They would have been stupid to. The remarks were well covered at the time. We told Trevor what we thought. Making slurs like that in Parliament is totally unacceptable.
They were well covered at the time. Do you know why? Because I blogged about them. Off memory there was no publicity around this until I highlighted this. No one in Labour did anything about Trevor and Clayton until there was adverse publicity.
And don’t think it was only the three times it has been recorded in Hansard. Hansard only records comments if made in a speech or if an interjection is responded to. I understand Trevor and Clayton has yelled out Tinkerbell to Finlayson on numerous occasions – but as Finlayson ignored them they do not get recorded.
So good on Jordan and others for telling Trevor (and hopefully Clayton) to stop. But did you say anything publicly like I have with National MPs?
What they denied is that Mallard is homophobic. They are right. Trevor has been a staunch defender of social liberal causes and was a key player in the fight to decriminalise homosexuality in the 1980s. His voting record on queer rights issues is perfect.
I tend to agree that Trevor is not homophobic. He is just someone willing to use homophobic comments to attack other MPs. It’s much the same with Winston. I don’t think Winston really hate Asians. I think he just knows it is effective to bash Asian immigration, so does it to be popular. I note Jordan has not said whether or not he thinks Clayton is homophobic.
In terms of the argument that someone can not be homophobic because they have a perfect voting record on queer right issues. By that logic, Senator Larry Craig can’t be homosexual because he has a perfect voting record against queer rights. I think behaviour counts as much as one’s voting record.
So my message to Whittington and to David Farrar is: stop lying on this point.
I trust Stephen’s integrity, just as I trust Kevin Hague – a gay Green MP who politically has nothing to gain by backing up the ACT candidate’s version of events. And then add onto that the fact that Chauvel has said he has never heard anyone refer to Finlayson by that name, and I am very comfortable with what I have blogged.
Jordan would do well to stop shooting the messengers. If only he spent as much time condemning the remarks publicly when they were made, than denying they were denied.
For someone who is a social liberal, David sure does spend a lot of time stirring up nasty stuff.
I love this Orewellain view of the world. If I was a Labour activist who criticised a National MP for denying homophobic comments from other National MPs, I would be trumpeted as the good guy, and the National MP would be the nasty guy.
But no God forbid that I criticise a Labour MP/s because in the heat of a debate they made the wrong call and embarrassed by the mention of these homophobic comments by colleagues they tried to bluff it and deny said comments had been made.
I can only conclude that criticising a Labour MP for anything at all, is automatically nasty stuff.
On that note I’ll talk about why I did the series of posts on Charles Chauvel. It is not because he is gay as Charles has suggested, or because some mythical polls show him leading in Ohariu and Peter Dunne has put me up to it. It is because I received information (from a number of sources, including people in his own party) that revealed he was doing shameless self-promotion to a degree that was deceptive.
In the past I have been complimentary of Charles, such as when he was moved to the extended front bench, noting:
Chauvel was a no brainer. … Chauvel to environment is logical and what I predicted. He is one of the few MPs who understand the complexities of the ETS etc.
And before the reshuffle I said:
But a couple of others would also be contenders on merit for the front bench, or at least the front row of the cross-benches. Charles Chauvel and Grant Robertson would be the two strongest contenders. …
I also blogged in favour of his private members bill on credit reform going to select committee.
Charles is not the only MP who is a self-promoter. All MPs are (by necessity) to some degree. But I think where most MPs are under-graduates, Charles seemed to be well on his way to a PhD in it, so I called him out on some of his practices. No conspiracy, no homophobia, nothing to do with Ohariu. At the end of the day if you don’t write letters praising yourself and send them out to people, then there is no way I can be sent a copy of them to blog about it.
UPDATE: Whale Oil has blogged that the video of the House shows Chauvel was present when Mallard used the term, and sitting just three seats along and one back from him.
UPDATE2: The Secretary of Rainbow Wellington has released his summary of the meeting based on his detailed notes. Tony Reed’s summary states:
The Banks issue was taken up further and the Labour MPs reminded us of his homophobic actions in the House when Chris Carter came out as the first openly gay MP. Stephen agreed this was wrong, but in turn accused Labour MPs of making homophobic remarks about Chris Finlayson, a charge which was hotly denied.”
I won’t hold my breath waiting for an apology for being called a liar.