Thursday, 9 August 2007

Rawnsley saga continues ...

A wise man once said,
Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages
appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the
second time as farce. (1)
TVNZ is the Australian government, Louis Rawnsley for Mohammed Haneef. Another tale of bureaucratic bullying, soon to collapse into a similar shambles. I don't know why TVNZ has decided to give the Australian government and police a run for their money in the unpopularity stakes, but they're uping the ante in the Rawnsely affair. Describing the discussion that led to Rawnsley's sacking,
TVNZ spokesperson Megan Richards said Mr Rawnsley was sacked because what he said to Mrs Rankin was "verbal abuse".

"This was a very visible and aggressive challenge and completely inappropriate from any staff member," she said. (2)
That, as they say, is fighting talk, and might come back to haunt TVNZ. At the moment, they are making themselves out to be the bad guy in a Haneef style David and Goliath confrontation. Especially since a lot of their staff seem to be pretty pissed off about this high handed treatment - as they should be (3). If TVNZ can boot someone with 24 years service, then who is safe?

MEanwhile, TV3 are enjoying themselves immensely, caliming that Rawnsely was marched out of the building' (4) and reproducing an email (5) from TVNZ CEO Rick Ellis to all staff. Again, he leave quite a few hostages to fortune:
I can say is that the staff member was dismissed after verbally abusing a
member of the public who was a guest on Breakfast.

The job of this staff member is to meet and greet members of the public, to
be the public face of TVNZ. And critically, while they are on the premises this
role has responsibility for the security of members of the public.

His behaviour was totally unacceptable to TVNZ. Guests on our shows
and to the building, regardless of their views on issues of the day, should not
have to put up with abusive behaviour from staff members but particularly those
whose job is to be the welcoming and safe face of TVNZ.

I want to make it clear that this was not the case of a staff member having
a friendly discussion with a guest or communicating a contrary opinion to that
expressed by the guest. (6)
This could all come back to haunt TVNZ. Rawnsley is sticking to his version of events, and Christine Rankin is not commenting on the affair (7). I predict that TVNZ is going to tough it out a while longer, will engage in the sort of sematic wriggling about the definition of 'verbally abusing' in the same way as Kevin Andrews has bent the word 'association' into a shape that suits him (8), though no-one else would recognise it as valid, then be forced into a climb down, as it transpires that the case against Rawnsley is hopelessly weak.

1 - "The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon," by Karl Marx, 1852. Reproduced on (
2 - "TVNZ staff object to guard's dismissal," by Simon Collins, in the NZ herald, 9th of August, 2007. ( 3 - ibid.
3- ibid.

4 - "TVNZ CEO defends sacking of security guard," unattributed TV3 article, 8th of August, 2007. (
5 - ibid.
6 - ibid.
7 - Collins, op. cit
8 - "Haneef case rests on guilt by association," by Cosima Marriner in the Sydney Morning Herald, 9th of August, 2007. (


Anonymous said...

And Christine Rankin's son is a former TVNZ HR manager who is mates with the guy who sacked Louis...

lurgee said...

Now that is interesting.

I'll take the masks and vaccines, thank you

From Stuff : I don't want to be pedantic, but I'm pretty sure neither masks nor vaccines figure much in the Gospel of Saint John; no...