ACT President Garry Mallett - Speech To Hamilton Public Meeting
The reasons why parents must be permitted to use reasonable force.
Defeating Sue Bradford's irrational case for the repeal of section 59?
"As a parent I'm trying to teach my children to understand right and wrong.
I'm trying to teach my children manners and courtesy and high level concepts like self-responsibility, justice, that actions have consequences.
Raising children is one of the biggest challenges, the highest responsibilities and the greatest pleasures that any parent can assume.
Smacking is not the only tool – not by a long shot. But smacking – the use of "reasonable force" - is a vital tool that all parents must have available to them in that process.
No one is suggesting that smacking be mandatory but it must not be outlawed.
The section 59 defence of "reasonable force" must remain in our law."
Full Text Of Speech To Hamilton Public Meeting - 01 May 2007:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, mums and dads, sons and daughters. My name is Garry Mallett - welcome and thank you for your attendance.
I always feel good addressing a group like this – a group of ladies and gentlemen, mums and dads, sons and daughters. Because I know that I'm addressing a group of New Zealanders who live the New Zealand ideals.
We're people who take great pride in earning our own way through life. We contribute enormously to our communities through our work, through our involvement with voluntary organisations and through our families. I salute you.
And, very importantly, we live in the real world.
Compare that with the world from whence this hideous bill was spawned, that unreal and very unusual world - the world of politics.
Politics is a weird, strange, messy, Kafkaesque world.
Far too often it's an alternative universe where - because of the nature of their role - the participants are frequently far removed from the real world we live in.
And due to that separation from reality it becomes very easy and seductive for politicians to believe they can change the very nature of that reality.
But the real world – reality – the world where normal people work, raise families, live and die – is a world that follows the laws of reality. And the laws of reality don't change at the stroke of a legislator's pen.
One of the most fundamental laws of reality is:
"That entities act according to their nature."
"Entities act according to their nature."
Let me say that one more time because it is just so important …
"Entities act according to their nature."
You may be more familiar with this concept as "the law of cause and effect" or maybe "actions have consequences."
This is a metaphysical law - a law of reality. And laws of reality – like the law of cause and effect will trump the edicts of the politicians every time.
And this anti-sacking bill is a perfect example of politicians trying to evade the laws of cause and effect - of evading the axiom that entities act according to their nature.
By-the-way has anyone else noticed the rampant hypocrisy. Sue Bradford is crusading to criminalise the use of "Reasonable Force" i.e. parents smacking their children.
This is the same Sue Bradford, who in a former incarnation as spokesman for the beneficiaries union, didn't bat an eye-lid when it came to using brutal force - trespass, destruction of private property and physical force - to impose her opinions on others.
However there is one prominent politician who, to her credit, can not be accused of hypocrisy.
Helen Clark, may well have lied when, just prior to the last election, she told the electorate that she would not support a smacking ban. So Helen may have lied - but she certainly did not engage in any hypocrisy on this.
Because – as far as I'm able to determine – Helen Clark never, ever smacked any of her children.
But anyway I digress.
My first point is.
And here I will ask your help to illustrate my point.
Would all of you who are parents please raise your hand - doesn't matter if your kids are grown up.
Now please keep your hand raised if you smacked your children by way of discipline and/or instruction.
Now please keep your hand raised if - as a consequence of smacking your child – your smacking escalated from reasonable force to abuse – rising to bashing, assault or even murder.
Not surprisingly there is not a hand aloft in the room.
Yet one of the fundamental premises justifying the anti-smacking crusade is "escalation".
By escalation I mean - in the same way that people believe using marijuana escalates to harder drugs – so the proponents of this bill claim that smacking escalates to bashing and more brutal forms of abuse.
The proponents of the anti-smacking bill would have us believe that parents develop a blood lust – a hunger - after that first smack and somehow, similar to the feeding frenzy of sharks, that first smack escalates up to the horrible beatings which appall us all.
But this is simply wrong – it's a lie, a falsehood, a con-job. Because it's an evasion of that law of reality that "entities act according to their nature"
The entities – "loving parents" - do not, by definition, bash and abuse their children. It is not in their nature.
In fact let's just for a second drop the "loving parents" label.
Good parents, average parents, indeed below average parents do not escalate from smacking (i.e. using reasonable force) to bashing and abusing their children. It is simply not in their nature.
So, without need of academic studies, or a "commissioner of child discipline" costing millions of taxpayers' dollars, I hope you can see that this "escalation theory" of smacking is a departure from the truth.
My second point.
At the start of this talk I welcomed you as ladies and gentlemen, mums and dads and sons and daughters. I did that for a purpose.
Every single one of us is a son or a daughter and every single one of us was once a child. And nearly every single one of us was smacked as a child.
How many of you were smacked as children. Please raise your hands?
The proponents of the anti-smacking bill maintain that you poor souls grew up in a culture of violence!
Now – all you sons and daughters – please keep your hands raised.
Now keep your hands raised if you believe that your parents' smacking bred into you a culture of violence. That your being smacked as a child turned you from a decent human being into the type of person who beats and destroys your own children.
Every arm has fallen – there I've just saved New Zealand taxpayers more millions of dollars in studies, reports and commissions we don't need.
So the entity – "loving parents" and the entity "children who've been smacked as they were raised" have acted according to their nature – they have not perpetrated a culture of violence – they have not beaten, bashed, abused or murdered their children.
No those "loving parents" and those "children who were smacked as they were raised" are the decent people we meet every day, they're the people teaching our kids, they're the people serving us in shops, they're your workmates, the people living next door - they're the decent people sitting in this room – they are us.Click here to read the rest of this well-written article