Thursday, 17 May 2007

Hall of Shame: the anti-smacking bill passed By John Dierckx in My Journal

Hall of Shame: the anti-smacking bill passed
By John Dierckx in My Journal
Published: Thursday, 17 May 07 - 10:59 AM (GMT +12:00)
Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 07 - 11:54 AM (GMT +12:00)

On this sunny morning there is a dark cloud in the sky waiting to interfere with the sunshine. The anti-smacking bill cloud that has kept New Zealand occupied in the past period passed last night with 113 votes for and 8 votes against. Copeland resigned for it. I feel sad for New Zealand.

"The signal that this house is sending today is that violence against our children is unacceptable. Having a sizeable majority of votes in favour of this bill ensures that a powerful and loud message is sent to our communities, loud and clear."

Why does the "House" feel that it is in any position to send any "powerful message" that is representing maybe the result of a political deal but is a far cry from what the public wanted. And isn't this what it is all about? Members of Parliament are representing the people that elected them. So why would parliament need to send a strong message if that message wasn't already clear for those they are representing there. The 80% plus against this ust be wondering why the heck they are still voting?

In no way issues raised against the bill have been addressed appropriately:

Do you now know why the poll results 80% plus against could be ignored?
Do you now understand where the difference is between a correctional tap on the bottom and "violence"? Of course not cause under this law it's all an offence! But we'll leave it to the Police discretion to decide whether or not to prosecute.

Regardless of the overwhelming majority vote I can but feel appalled. A country where a house of representatives can completely ignore those whom they are representing can no longer call itself a democracy. This law is demonstrating clearly that governent is taking over as an absolute ruler rolling out their own agendas regardless of what the public thinks and wants. Where this happens in other countries we speak of dictatorships.

And look what is happening, the bad taste of the passing of this bill has barely gone and I read that:

"Sue Bradford's two-year battle to convince her fellow MPs to pass the anti-smacking bill came to an end last night but the Green MP said the work to persuade parents of the virtues of the law change was just beginning.

The law change will not come into force for a month. Ms Bradford said those four weeks and the period after the bill's enactment should see an intensive education process for parents.

"This is very much the end of the beginning. There are a whole lot of things that need to happen in terms of public education in what this bill actually means. We also need to be monitoring what this legislation means for Child, Youth and Family and for the police."

See what I mean? If this bill was carried by public support, why do we need convincing? And what the heck do I have to think of "an intensive eduction process for parents"?

And that education process just started today with this almost propganda like news coverage in the New Zealand Herald, which we can now conveniently rebrand as the "Voice of the House":

"The High Court in Auckland heard how a boy of 3 years old was subjected to regular beatings using a baseball bat, a vacuum cleaner pipe, rods and a wooden spoon, and punched repeatedly in the face," Mrs Turia said.

"The couple convicted of manslaughter used section 59 of the Crimes Act as their defence, claiming that they only ever used reasonable force. As long as we have people who are prepared to administer beatings so savage that a child's blood splatters on to the ceiling and who are then able to defend that callous brutality as a reasonable punishment, then this nation is in deep trouble."

Yes this nation is in deep trouble where it comes to child abuse but this is the typical propaganda that hasd accompanied the introduction and whole process of this law passing. No one will denie that cases like the above are horrible examples that should not be allowed. But they already were an offence. The bill is not doing anything extra for cases like that, except for taking away the defence of reasonable force. Judges and juries are not silly, for extremes like this no one will think of reasonable force.

But through this bill we have brought every parent in the scope of criminal law, regardless of whether you give a correctional tap on the bottom or use baseball bats, vacuum cleaner pipes, wooden spoons. And let's not leave judgement to independent judges and juries, no no no, that is too much insecurity for a state controlled apparatus: we 'll leave it to the new Parental KGB cause that's what our Police force now will be as a reward for all those abuses of power that have been exposed lately.
And here we are to trust that they will use their discretion wisely?

This is a sad day for New Zealand, we stopped being a democratic society, said goodbye to our rule of law and our autonomy as a parent to raise our children has been eroded one more step further. Marx would have been proud of good old Helen and her mob.

"She'll not be right" if we don't start thinking for ourselves again.

Applause for those who did not give in: Rodney Hide, Heather Roy, Taito Phillip Field, Gordon Copeland, Winston Peters, Ron Mark, Pita Paraone, Judy Turner.

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