Nothing like a bit of Q&A on a Monday evening to get the discourse cranking.
Last night’s episode, presumably intended as something of an election interrogation – after all, it featured George Brandis, Tanya Plibersek and incoming senator Steve Price – ended up taking a fairly different course.
Actual election insights were few and far between, with Brandis doing his usual pointlessly mercurial jabs and Plibersek sounding like she was still in campaign mode. I suppose that’s what we’ve come to expect of the show.
But a question from family violence campaigner Tarang Chawla took the panel aback. He told them that his sister Nikita had been stabbed to death by her partner last year, and asked – in the wake of the Eddie McGuire comments about Caroline Wilson – how we can change the cultural norms which enable domestic violence.
How will politicians & media play a better role in shifting the language of VAW? @StevePriceMedia @vanbadham #QandA https://t.co/74wqYGM9jA
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) July 11, 2016
The debate here really fell down to Steve Price and Guardian columnist Van Badham. Price, as anyone who watches The Project or listens to him on radio will know, has carved out a niche as a crotchety old conservative who yearns for some halcyon time of civility and respect which actually probably never existed.
Price parroted the classic line: the McGuire comments were just banter, just some boys having a laugh, and they apologised anyway so who gives a shit?
“Eddie apologised immediately. If you listen to that broadcast in context, it was a bunch of blokes laughing about things they shouldn’t have laughed about,” he said.
“When it was brought to their attention that they’d said those things, all of them apologised. I think far too much was then made of it. As for Sam’s comments, who happens to be a good friend of mine on the Footy Show, I think he should regret the comments and shouldn’t have gone in to defend his great friend Eddie but I think too much was made of what was originally a joke on a football show.”
Badham rightly took him to task on it – especially given that this was his immediate response to someone saying their sister had been killed by a partner.
“Steve, do you know what you’re doing? Do you have any understanding what you’re doing? This man has given us an extremely upsetting story about what happened and you are defending yourself in the context where we have to have a conversation about cultural attitudes that treat women differently.”
Price and Badham argue for a bit, and Price concludes that Badham is just ‘being hysterical’, which had even the questioner Chawla surprised:
Badham replied “It is probably my ovaries making me do it, Steve.”
Then Tony Jones, that noble warrior for civility, interjects and says things are getting too heated. Classic Tony Jones.