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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Saturday, 20 January 2007
Chaytor convicted for kicking his ex, maybe saving her life, and of being a NSW ALP politician?
Mood:  sad
Topic: election nsw 2007

The big political news leading the press locally is Steven Chaytor NSW ALP MP for Macquarie, a twenty something law graduate is convicted yesterday of 'assault' of his apparently suicidal then girlfriend:  

Labor: the guilty party

 ANNE DAVIES AND JONATHAN PEARLMAN | Conviction of an MP for domestic violence latest scandal to hit Morris Iemma ahead of election.

Chaytor might say, on appeal, in his own mind that the words 'you want violence, I will give you violence' when he kicked her with serious bruising resulting, was a tactic to break her suicidal hysteria and demonstrated determination to kill herself having already reportedly taken poison tablets:

"Ms Njoo admitted trying to kill herself by taking pills after Chaytor, 30, told her their relationship was over. She had accused him of having an affair – which he denied." http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,21087970-5001021,00.html

Not a slap on the face, but a determined circuit breaker none the less. Maybe.

The admissions of suicidal poison pills taken by Ms Njoo, who loyally supported Chaytor's career for some 2 years apparently to the degradation perhaps of her own identity, are significant. They suggest a process of unconcscoius emotional blackmail:  He had a new life as an MP and was growing out of the relationship. She was being left behind and could feel it but not accept it.

Was the kicking to her calf as much a rejection of that emotional blackmail as a disabling? Or the end game of a long process of abusive exploitation of a girlfriend of no further use in a bright prospective political career? (Actually there is nothing to suggest a history of violence in the news to date.) Was it simply an effective act of disabling - so she couldn't get back up to the poison tablets?

What else might he have done faced with an hysterical suicidal, according to his evidence? He could have done nothing, suicide effected, tragedy and been elected. He wasn't that callous. He could have let her take the pills and called an ambulance. Again not so cruelly calculating and reckless.

He could have ... what? Slapped her rather than kick her, once to see if she stopped pill popping. If that didnt' work, slap again so hard she was knocked out? That's unthinkable. But doing nothing also seems a bit theoretical and unrealistic to this writer.

Plenty for an appeal court to work on there.

Chaytor presents as a SNAG (sensitive new age guy), and I think its a sad situation all round. Is there evidence of a history of violence? Doesn't sound like it in the news reports so far.

What is the political history and background of the Magistrate Robert Rabbidge?

This is a proper question: Opposition leader Debnam was on ABC radio news at 6pm last night, then 7pm  tv again, whining about his wife being monstered by "union thugs" playing off the scandal of the Chaytor conviction. Only the vision on ABC TV news showed your well dressed middle class health services people, not "union thugs", not a jostle or elbow in sight. Maybe on other channels but I doubt it. It was opportunism by Debnam like the Debus smear that fell flat in Parliament which I attended at the relevant speeches in the public gallery and front foyer the second time via video link.

But it was an Opposition tactic that played after Chaytor's conviction. As wrong a tactic as it was: Debnam just another greasy politician like Iemma who also over does it with prominent "coward" tag on Chaytor in a complex situation, if one accepts the evidence of both parties.

But electorally it doesn't matter now. Successful appeal or not. The conviction does Chaytor in professionally in the short term, and does feed into the Iemma Govt's deep reputational problem. Even more ethical Fairfax Sydney Morning Herald are over egging the story with bias agaisnt the ALP to a degree listing Kerry Hickey with some mild traffic breaches with  other "EX MPs" when he is still quite in harness and in the same job as Local Government Minister.

Sloppy give away of bias, that.

And notice the predictable gratuitous editorial here:

Editorial: Another day, another scandal for Morris Iemma

with this jarring moralism from Big Media: "For Labor in NSW, bereft of ideas, talent, and energy, good government comes a distant second to the drive for re-election."

As true as this may in the case of the ALP under Iemma, for "good government a distant second" substitute "good honest journalism a distant second to the drive for higher circulation and advertising revenues and excessive pay rates" of the Big Media sector.

In other words profiting from the scandal mongering over the Chaytor and Njoo domestic misfortune via the prominence both major dailies give the story, with very little weight to the fact convicted Chaytor may just have saved Njoo's life: There is something vaguely hypocritical and immoral in the moneyed Big Media preaching on the vices of moneyed Big Politics in our society. No surprises there is a revolving door between the two.

The Daily Telegraph equally hateful of the ALP generally, though quite patriarchal in leanings still ran it front page with very fragile looking Ms Fee Fen Njoo, knowing full well the damage to their brand.

On a personal note this writer can relate to this story: A similar not quite the same painful situation over 20 years ago as a law student. Thankfully no physical violence but plenty of emotional violence. She came from an abusive alcoholic family and had bad habits from that cycle of violence, I had my legacy from an insensitive alcoholic father. We agreed to never see eachother again after breaking up. It was the saddest time of my life. If you haven't been there, then there but for the grace of God, is about right.

On the other hand surviving an awful break up is also character building.

As Billy Joel points out poetically in one of this songs: In the end you forgive yourself. Life goes on and time heals.

It is also why in politics and domestics Gandhi's principles of non violence is my guiding philosophy, if not perfect observance, from when I first read them in 1992 at green group The Wilderness Society (which ran a great TV advert on SBS just before the 9.30 news last night):

Gandhi's ten principles of nonviolence:

1. Humiliating or deliberately provoking your opponent invites violence.

2. Knowing your facts and arguments well helps avoid violence.

3. If you are open about your cause your opponent is less likely to be violent.

4. Look for common ground between you and your opponents to promote trust and understanding.

5. Do not judge others.

6. Trust your opponent. They will sense this trust.

7. Compromise on inessential items to promote resolution.

8. Sincerity helps convert your opponent.

9. By making personal sacrifice you show your sincerity.

10. Avoid exploiting weakness in your opponent. Aim for integrity, not simply to win.

Gandhi nonviolence

And some sincere advice to Mr Chaytor and Ms Njoo if they ever see this: There is a worthwhile life after such a depressing chapter in one's young life. Time does heal, take if from an older head and its not really about how intelligent one is. It's about taking positive action however mundane, as simple as exercise, which gives peace of mind and self respect and then time for the emotions to heal. But it does take time. Hold onto that thought.

Posted by editor at 8:03 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 21 January 2007 10:27 AM EADT

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