Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Smacking Debate Continues in Australia

The debate on child-discipline rages on across the Pacific in Australia. Below are a few excerpts from an article www.thedaily.com.au...

"Outlawing parental smacking of children could lead to family break ups and brand parents as criminals.

Brisbane criminal defence lawyer Tim Meehan has released a statement arguing against the recent push to make “excessive” smacking of children illegal claiming the move could spell the end for many families..."

Later on,

"...[former attorney-general] Mr Wells said he believed outlawing smacking would force parents to discover non-violent ways to discipline their children.

However Mr Meehan, who works for Ryan Bosscher Lawyers, said parents needed education, not a change to the criminal code.

“You would just make them liable to be charged as criminals,” Mr Meehan said.

“An education program is a great idea and worth supporting but changing the Criminal Code to ban parental smacking is not the way to do it. Changing the Criminal Code is not an education move, it is purely about punishing people for crimes.”

Mr Meehan said New Zealand parents were attempting to overturn their nation’s anti-smacking laws.

“Our laws already protect children against excessive force and provides the option to prosecute parents who abuse their children,” Mr Meehan said.

“Nobody is suggesting parents, or anyone who abuses a child, should be immune from prosecution.

“The danger with changing the law is how they are interpreted and enforced. You could see parents being prosecuted for minor smacks that would usually be associated with part of the parenting process..."

And finishes up by stating,

"...The law, as it stands, allows for parents to use “reasonable force” to discipline children."

I just hope that the people and legislators of Australia have more sense than we appear to be excercising over here in New Zealand. I hope that they can look at the dog of a law that we now have, and also look across to Sweden and the other few countries that have criminalised parents who smack their children; and think better of a law-change.

God defend Australia.

Sheryl Savill on the Petition

Sheryl Savill has written a column at the New Zealand Centre for Political Research on her involvement with the Anti-Smacking Law petition. Below is an excerpt from that article,

"I am not normally one to get involved in politics or public demonstrations. But when I realised how the anti-smacking bill would directly affect the way I was raising my children, I just knew that I had to do something. And I discovered very early on that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way - many of the parents I talked to thought the bill was ludicrous. So ludicrous, they felt that there wasn’t even a need for a petition… surely our politicians weren’t that blind. The ironic thing about it was that many children also thought it was illogical!

The government was intruding yet again into the lives of parents, and as a mum, I was really concerned about the impact that this type of bill would have on my family.

Through my role at Focus on the Family, I deal with parent education and run the How To Drug Proof Your Kids programme. I know how incredibly important the values instilled by parents are in a child’s life. To remove and undermine a parent’s authority in their own home is a treacherous area for the State to wade into.

I’m not speaking blindly here as the Founder of Focus on the Family, Dr James Dobson, has dedicated his life to helping parents nurture and protect their children. Work that started while he was working in pediatrics over 30 years ago. He found that children were falling through the cracks because parents weren’t given the tools to be able to raise their children. So he began to provide practical ideas and techniques to mums and dads, helping them to be the best parents that they can be..."

She finishes off her article,

"...It’s important to acknowledge that even though my name is on this petition not to criminalise good parents for smacking, the work of collecting the 380,000 signatures is not the work of one individual. A team of people and organisations who were just as passionate as me, made this happen.

On the 29th of February 2008, I was fortunate enough to stand on the steps of parliament with Larry Baldock and a group of people to hand in the boxes of signed petitions. I cannot put into words how proud I was to be a kiwi that day. We represented a nation of mums, dads, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, grandfathers and grandmothers, who have stood on the streets in our local towns, outside schools, field days, at sports games and at work to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures. New Zealanders, standing up for what we believe!

Thanks Sheryl, and also a massive thankyou to the people and organisations that put in so much time and effort to protect Kiwi families.

Unity for Liberty: Petition Count Report

Below is an excerpt from an email received from Unity for Liberty, regarding the status of the Anti-Smacking-Law petition signature count...

All is looking good for the referendum. The scrutiny is now complete and is just waiting for the statistician to come up with his magic answer. The good news is that the results are almost identical with the first scrutiny, which means the result should be beyond the power of any magic wand that our statistician may wish to wield.

Here are some official numbers concerning the sample of signatures taken for the signatory check,

The sample taken represented a 1 in 13 ratio, a total of 29,710 signatures were scrutinized.

From this total 25,787 signatures were valid, 3,886 did not qualify.

160 duplicates were found, there were no triplicates found.

So 25,787 x 13 = 335,231,  which means that the statistician will have to lose a further 50,000 signatures (approx) to fail the attempt. Apparently, by applying the same formula as the first time we should have a 25,000(approx) surplus.

The question is not now "if", the question is "when".  Will Helen Clark push ahead with her selfish plan of running the referendum after the election (costing NZ over $10,000,000), or will she allow the referendum to go ahead as would be normal practice, at the upcoming General Election (15 Nov or earlier).