Tuesday 27 June 2017

Female MP's ejected from parliament after stating they were victims of sexual assault

The comments were made during a row about the deportation of New Zealanders who had committed crimes in Australia
(stock photo)
The comments were made during a row about the deportation of New Zealanders who had committed crimes in Australia (stock photo)

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Two female MPs were ordered to leave New Zealand's parliament yesterday after they stated that they had been victims of sexual assault.

The speaker of the parliament ruled that their remarks were out of order.

The women’s admission came after Prime Minister John Key accused opposition MPs of “backing the rapists” in a row over the detention of New Zealanders by the Australian government.

Opposition politicians had raised concerns in relation to New Zealand citizens awaiting deportation after the Australian government cancelled visas for those convicted of certain crimes.

Mr Key went on a rant after being questioned by the Labour Party leader Andrew Little, telling him “you back the rapists”, before being cut off by the speaker.

“Some of the detainees are rapists, some of them are child molesters, and some of them are murderers,” Mr Key said.

“These are the people that the Labour party are saying are more important to support than New Zealanders who deserve protecting when they come back here.”

A number of New Zealanders are being detained on Christmas Island after the Australian government introduced a retroactive law requiring the deportation of overseas citizens convicted of crimes carrying a custodial sentence of more than a year.

Green party leader Metiria Turei told the speaker that as a survivor of sexual violence she was deeply offended by Mr Key’s remarks: “As the victim of a sexual assault, I take personal offence at the prime minister’s comments, and ask that you require him to withdraw and apologise.”

Her comments were echoed by Green MP Catherine Delahunty, who was told by the speaker to stop and sit back down.

When other female MPs, including Labour’s Nanaia Mahuta, Clare Curran and Megan Woods and Green MP Marama Davidson repeated the call for Mr Key to apologise with reference to their own assaults, the speaker ordered them to stop, saying they were “flouting the rules” by claiming to make points of order.

Despite the warning, MPs continued to stand to urge the speaker to take action.

Green MP Marama Davidson was then thrown out of the House along with Poto Williams MP.

At least eight others then chose to leave the debating chamber.

Ms Delahunty said the MPs had walked out on behalf of women around New Zealand.

“We’ve walked out because every woman in this country needs to know that women parliamentarians will not put up with this,” she said.

“We will not stand by and allow this to be bandied around parliament – this kind of abuse of people and way of approaching rape is simply unacceptable, and the prime minister has to be held to account.”

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