Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Forum on the Family

It's 48 minutes into tomorrow, so I will give a very quick report on the Forum on the Family hosted by Family First on Monday 15 October 2007.

We heard an excellent address from Garth McVicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust. He is calling not primarily for longer sentences as such, but just that there would be integrity in our justice system, so that for instance, when a life sentence is handed out, it is in fact a life sentence. Currently, prisoners can get out on an automatic 1/3 of their sentence on parole. Many violent offenders (and that's a very politically correct way of putting it - what about scum of the earth) re-offend while out on bail, go back into jail for a few more years of the easy life, then back out onto the street again to molest or murder a few more innocent victims before the mind-numbingly stupid cycle again repeats itself.

John Tamihere spoke well about not much in particular.

Ian Grant captivated us with down to earth parenting tips. Quite frankly, I wasn't at the forum for parenting tips as I'm one or two years away from being in a position where such information would be helpful. :)

Christine Rankin gave a rousing commentary on her life, and how we should say positive things about people. Apparently she's a buddhist, well she's the blimmin well best buddhist I've met.

Ali Harley, despite her starting off comments, actually had a lot of useful things to say. Her big thing was "if you want to make a difference, if you want to get into the media, make sure that it is dead easy for the media, the reporters to get in touch with you - have your cellphone on!"

Mr. Guyan had some good points too. He's into Christian media. His message was "images are so much more powerful than words, it is images that stick in people's minds."

John Tamihere and Ian Grant disappointed me with their unnecessary use of the B word relating to paedophilia. I'm not going to rave about the low points, there weren't many. It was a good conference thanks Bob, and the good strong coffee and the fantastic food were really appreciated.

If you didn't make it to the forum this time round, be there in 2008.


Andy Moore said...

Simeon and Gaylene, I'll be expecting you both to compile your notes up, type them up, and we'll have to swap some ideas round ok.

Good times :)

MandM said...

John Tamihere's points were worthwhile. I can see why you found him to not be speaking about anyting in particular. He was hard to follow 0 unfortunately those of us who have spent years working within a field sometimes forget where the boundary is between common lay knowledge and our own specialist knowledge. I do it all the time expecting people to understand 'basic' aspects of the law (basic to me) and Matt does it when he uses a string of 5+ syllable words when giving instructions to our 6 year old.

John gave some excellent pointers on how to go about the art of lobbying MP's. Remember what the role of an MP is, be clear about what you are about, what you want the MP to do. Have an understanding of the political environment. Keep in mind the structure of political parties, how caucauses work, how much power any single MP has to influence the political factions within their caucuses. Be realistic and understand that sometimes, because an MP has to be able to live to fight another battle, all they can do is try to reduce the extremes of bad legislation by agreeing to vote for it if their colleagues agree to remove this bit or that bit - they cannot always block it.

Pitch what you want from your MP keeping all that in mind. Frame your argument in a manner that shows the MP how to counter their colleagues objections if they agree to support your position. Show the MP how they can get around the political fallout that might happen if they support your position.

That was the essence of what John was talking about. It is a shame he did not use more lay language but in his defence he probably thought he was talking to a room full of seasoned lobbyists when the reality is that while seasoned lobbyists were there there were also quite a few up and coming lobbyists who would have benefitted more from him using plain english and less in-house terms.

Andy Moore said...

Heheheh, yes you're right. I think I wrote a few notes, will have to go back over them - thanks for the interpretation though, clears things up a bit.

Have a great day and hi to Matt :)