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QandA: Triggs vs Bishop. Who Won?

In the wake of last night’s Triggs vs Bishop stoush on QandA, TBS wants to know your thoughts.

In the murky depths of the Death Arena that is QandA, Speaker of the House Bronwyn Bishop decided to let it all hang out, calling out Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs, on the timing of a Report her office released as the Abbott Government came to power, ostensibly calling for her resignation, live on TV;

BB: “There is a time, and I think Gillian recognises it, that as a statutory officer you have to decide whether you’re a statutory officer, or whether you wish to say, ‘I want to be part of the political debate’ and stand for office and run to become part of that political process.”

Gillian Triggs fired back a trite nah, stating the laws-the-law, and the content is political, before dropping the bomb;

GT: “Were I to receive frequent praise from the Government, I think the Australian people would have a good reason to ask for my resignation”

Beyond the rapturous sea of applause, both claimed Victory. But we want to know, who actually did?

TBS Readers, let us know. And show your work.


Image by Friday Mash



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TBS Likes is a strange place where anything goes. Like International Waters, or Christmas morning after the shine has worn off and the booze has kicked in. May the ugliness commence.

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  1. Michael Burrill said:

    But it’s different when you condescend to people though right? Lack of self awareness is another trait some may attribute to an insolent child.
    Almost zero isn’t zero now is it? And in reality the boats have only been stopped coming to Australia, as the recent crisis with migrant boats stranded out at sea and the discovery of mass graves(with hundreds of migrants “failing to survive”, as you might describe it, in them) in Thailand and Malaysia show, the problem is only pushed elsewhere so we don’t have to think about or look at it.

    Obviously your memory skills only extend to easy catchphrases, as I said at the beginning, the Coalition agreed to release those children as a compromise in order to pass legislation which otherwise eroded rights asylum seekers are supposed to be legally entitled to. That the children arrived under Labor doesn’t change the fact that firstly, they were placed in mandatory detention(yes, under Labor) as a separate policy which was a political response to those arrivals and meant to act as a deterrent, a policy which the Coalition continued with,including the widespread and indefinite detention of children which led to the report in the first place.

  2. Michael Burrill said:

    The whole debate surround Triggs’ impartiality was started by the Coalition in response to her report on children in the mandatory detention and has continued every time she’s made a statement on human rights(you know,her job…Sorry I forgot, condescension is only acceptable from the infallible and magnificent Phantom) which was inconvenient for the government’s agenda, I’m just responding to their conflation of the two.All these claims of partisan behaviour basically seem to amount to conjecture and baseless accusations. Defending one’s self against politically motivated claims of bias doesn’t amount to partisan behaviour.

  3. Phantom said:

    Let me spell this out …
    Bishop’s criticism of Triggs: Partisan and that’s ok.
    Bishop’s performance as speaker: Sometimes biased and that’s not OK but has nothing to do with Triggs and the only possible replacements as speaker are other party members, who are also inherently biased.
    Triggs’ conduct: Partisan and that’s not ok. Even if her official reports and findings are fair and accurate, they are tainted by her partisan performances. She should resign because not only must justice be done, justice must be seen to be done.

  4. Phantom said:

    There are two separate debates and you are conflating them. There is the debate about mandatory detention, and there is the debate about Triggs’ impartiality. In the debate about Triggs, Triggs does not come off well. In the debate about mandatory detention, the government’s (past and present) actions are questionableeyes.
    Triggs partisan behaviour should not be excused because she is (arguably) fighting the good fight. Quite the opposite; it should be examined because she is fighting when she should be umpiring.

  5. Phantom said:

    Condescension doesn’t make you seem smart or superior, it just makes you seem like an insolent child.

    “Stopped from reaching the Australian mainland is more accurate”
    Incorrect. The number setting sail has dropped to almost zero compared to under Labor’s policies. ‘Stopped – full stop’ is mostly accurate.

    “you know, the ones the report we’re all discussing was about”
    Wrong again. The children discussed in the report, close to 2000 of them, arrived almost entirely under the policies of Labor. Under the Coalition the number has dropped to less than 130. Labor put 200 children in detention; the Coalition has released almost 95% of them.

    “struggling to survive in shanty town purgatory elsewhere”
    Better for them to be failing to survive on the sea floor, eh?

  6. Ben Hammond said:

    Bronwyn is trying to push Triggs out of her position because she is a threat to the current government. She treats her like an imbocile.

  7. Michael Burrill said:

    Similar logic works the other way round though. Whatever the questions some may have over Triggs impartiality, it doesn’t change the mountain of evidence regarding the harmful nature(to adults and children) of the mandatory detention regime. That the debate is largely focused on the timing of the report(which also looked at children in detention under Labor), rather than the veracity of the evidence, seems to illustrate perfectly that it’s basically just a sideshow to direct debate away from the actual issue here, the aforementioned harmful nature of the mandatory detention regime.

  8. Michael Burrill said:

    Stopped from reaching the Australian mainland is more accurate really, you’ve shown you can remember a catchphrase though, you clever person! Claiming a victory in immigration policy stopping an increase in numbers of children in detention is kinda laughable when it’s basically the same policy that is responsible for the children currently in detention(you know, the ones the report we’re all discussing was about) and when those other children are just back in rickety boats aimed in the opposite direction or struggling to survive in shanty town purgatory elsewhere rather than in detention.

  9. Phantom said:

    “The only reason there is less children in detention now is that the Libs were forced to agree to it …”
    Plus, of course, the boats have stopped…

  10. Phantom said:

    In your original comment it wasn’t clear to me that you meant Bishop lacks impartiality whilst in the chair – I thought you were saying that as Speaker she is required to be impartial at all times, both within and outside Parliament.

    With that clarified, I see you point and it may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    Still, even if the message is tainted by who delivered it (Bishop), Triggs’ impartiality is still under question due to her failure to answer several important questions regarding the timing of her Forgotten Children report and who within Labor she consulted regarding its timing. Until she answers those questions there will be a cloud over her position and the HRC.

  11. AlexandraTselios said:

    Hey I would love someone to write about that! Still enjoyed this piece though too – lots of serious commentary around.

  12. Natalie.Elias said:

    I think that both handled themselves well but I think Brownwyn is a bully and Triggs is hiding something

  13. James said:

    Hey @disqus_fZqGLMUiDc:disqus it might be worth watching her in parliament. I think people feel that she is not fair and totally playing the side of the tories. She is seen a bit like the Margaret Thatcher here in OZ

  14. MariaB said:

    Also I don’t know why everyone hates Bronwyn can someone explain?

  15. MariaB said:

    I feel like i just read a drug induced angry rant but I don’t really know why you are so upset lol

  16. MariaB said:

    Triggs definitely is playing much fairer than Bishop but they were both good

  17. Michelle said:

    Triggs woe she is an independent officer not a politician and should be treated with more respect!

  18. Michael said:

    One of the greatest parts of that conversation on Q&A was the composure of both ladies!

  19. Michael said:

    So…. full disclosure ‘cardinal fang’ I actually write for TBS and have submitted articles for the big smoke on refugees that have been published despite other publications not accepting them so here is a list of other stuff too (you sound a bit angry though just for the sake of it instead of seeing satire for what it is so this comment may not be falling on reasonable ears and I don’t know where criticism of the government was in this or what murdoch has to do with it (not murdock) ) but here we go:











  20. Cardinal fang said:

    Who cares who won? Recently I saw a BBC programme about asylum seekers in detention on Nauru and Manus island. It was embarrassing. Bishop is an embarrassment. One moment she is boasting about saving lives and then she refers to illegal arrivals. They are people who for reasons that should be blatantly obvious have fled their country.
    Initially Howard and Co labelled them queue jumpers, potential terrorists, economic a refugees etc etc. The demonization goes on. Last week on QandA a former immigration minister spoke of visiting a refugee camp in Africa. Real refugees. This is what tories do. They understand the ugliness of the Australian psyche and tap into it. They don’t like professor Trigg’s message, they slap her. Dutton goes on a shock jock show and guffaws at a stupid parody about senator Hanson Young.
    Every time Abbott opens his mouth he says something stupid to a pack of lies and you write about who won between the worst speaker since Leo McLean and a law professor. Maybe you should get ray Hadley to write a stupid song for you.
    This is not a football match. This concerns our nation and it’s reputation. It’s remarkable that after 800 years of Magna Carta, we havery scrapped the writ of habeas corpus. The right to silence. Freedom of assembly, a fair trial, legal representation. Why don’t you write about that? Write about the abuse of process, the flouting of our obligations according to international law. Our responsibilities under international treaties. No you write about a stupid competition that doesn’t exist.
    Hey don’t you criticize the government everytime they refer to asylum seekers as illegal arrivals? Do your job or go to the Murdock press.

  21. Rainer the cabbie said:

    It was relevant to my original comment where I accuse Botox Bronnie of lecturing about political bias when she herself is full of it, and even worst, practises it in the House of Representatives in a position that relies on impartiality.

  22. Phantom said:

    How would that be relevant to this post, which is about her appearance on Q&A?

  23. Michael Burrill said:

    Eh,It’s more a general lack of respect for the political profession, Greens are probably the best of a bad bunch but I have no loyalty to them, I’ve critcised them in my column before. Yep, it would be highly politicised and potentially affect the outcome of the elections, which would go against the whole thing you’re supposedly fighting for, the HRC’s impartiality. To add to that, a passage from the Forgotten Children report “As the federal election was imminent, I decided to await the outcome of the election, and any government changes in asylum seeker policy, before considering launching an Inquiry”. And another regarding your claims Triggs tried to shift blame to the Libs alone, “In an attempt to stop illegal people smuggling and drowning at sea, the Labor Government reintroduced offshore transfers to Nauru and Manus Island. As from 13 August 2012, that Government froze the assessment of claims to refugee status under the ‘no advantage’ principle, leaving about 31,000 asylum seeker families and children in a legal black hole in which their rights and dignity have been denied, in some cases for years. The current Government has maintained this policy.”

    Blah blah blah conjecture, blah blah blah Labor did this, Labor did that, don’t really care mate, It;s all blame shifting to me. As for Triggs’ supposed “in-your-face” lie, this article seems to suggest that not only did 12 mothers threaten to kill themselves, but the dissemination of such facts had nothing to do with Triggs http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/asylum-seeker-mothers-on-christmas-island-attempt-suicide-in-bid-to-help-children-20140708-3bl0j.html.

    Lastly, what exactly is the big difference between a locked detention centre and a pirson? I don’t really see one personally…

  24. Mike said:

    Your complete lack of respect Michael for anyone in the Liberal party is evident. You have a clear bias and I would say its Greens more than labor. She embarrassed herself at the recent Senate Committee. She contradicted her evidence about political considerations of delaying an inquiry into children in detention. Under questioning, Triggs revealed she had decided an inquiry wasn’t necessary early last year but did not act until after the federal election because she feared it would be ‘highly politicised’ and ‘very destructive’. February this year she called an inquiry into children in detention. There’s no way Triggs would have called an enquiry while Gillard (who made Triggs what she is today) was prime minister. Labour’s six years of government saw the arrival of 800 boats, 50,000 asylum seekers, 8,000 children – and 1,200 lost at sea. They were the guilty party in this debacle. Her inquiry into children in detention, blatantly tried to shift the blame from the guilty former Labour government to the 6-months-old Liberal government And didn’t her lies flow. Prior to her inquiry Triggs spread a rumour that almost a dozen mothers in detention had threatened suicide. This was an in-your-face lie and was quickly disputed by others. She told her inquiry she saw little difference between locked detention and a prison.

  25. Michael Burrill said:

    To give the new government a chance to implement their own policy, also the idea of timing is pretty irrelevant when the report addresses children in detention under both Labor and the Liberals. “Wasn’t she also found to have lied about some of the things she claims to have witnessed whilst visiting Nauru”, first I’ve heard of it, you have any proof for these accusations or is just another baseless smear? By your logic basically anytime a government decides they don’t like a Human Rights Commission President’s findings they can smear the HRC Prez’s impartiality and force them to resign, that’s not impartial at all now is it? Some “silly and simplistic”(as you would describe it) commentary here Mary. Please don’t respond with a deluge of “Labor did this, Labor did that” because frankly I’m not partisan, I think they are just as full of shit on this issue.

  26. Joey said:

    Other than hating Libs Michael do you have proof of that? Or is it an attempt to ignore an argument where Trig still does not own up to her past activities. It is easy to just make comments like that and no back it up but at the same time find it convenient to just ignore Trigs own two faced behaviour

  27. Michael Burrill said:

    When she manages to do that, be sure to let us know eh?

  28. Michael Burrill said:

    The only reason there is less children in detention now is that the Libs were forced to agree to it in order to gain Senate support for legislation which eroded asylum seeker rights.

  29. Glen said:

    t is obvious that Bishop won , it is also obvious that Trig is a labor supporter because of the delay in bringing this matter out . Bishop was right to call Trig politically Bias f, 2,000 children under the labor watch on Naru

  30. Phantom said:

    She only has to act impartially whilst “in the chair”.

  31. Rainer the cabbie said:

    As the speaker of the house, therefore obliged to be impartial, Bronnie has broken the record in excusing members of another side of politics then her own.
    I find it a bit hard to swallow when she then accuses a public servant of political bias, especially when her mates have driven a campaign of playing the person on a subject that is an embarrassment to both parties and a shame on the nation.
    So the band plays on, pity the children.

  32. Mary said:

    Can anyone tell me why Gillian Triggs didn’t release her findings while Labour was in government. She has never really answered that question in a satisfactory way. If she was so concerned about the gravity of those suffering in Nauru, wouldn’t she be prompted to reveal her findings immediately, rather than waiting for a new government? Wasn’t she also found to have lied about some of the things she claims to have witnessed whilst visiting Nauru. I don’t believe she is being unfairly attacked. Clearly, she has a huge political agenda and should step down. Human Rights Commissioner’s should not only act impartially but also be seen to be impartial.

  33. me said:

    Triggs has been unfairly attacked for just being honest about her findings so no surprises last night

  34. Guest said:

    Can i just hate them both and ask them both to resign?

  35. Ed said:

    In this case I think Bronnie on. If it turns out Gillian goes and runs for Labour at some point she has lost all respect and is deserving of all the questions from the public and the current government. Otherwise she is right that she has to do what the law says.

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