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Crusade for Free Speech

Filed under: General — Downunder @ 10:41 am Sun 31st March 2019

There are many battle fronts when it comes to free speech and the lenses through which it is viewed can be as blinding as they are illuminating. (And I’m sick of losing the updates so I will publish this post then finish it.)

In the view of this website it is often seen in the shadow of the Family Court and its surrounding agencies. Up until now the underlying cause of our concern has often been the biased, blinded, and blood-minded defence of anything female by Feminists but presently we are seeing that battle widen into the ideological arena of identity politics – another issue to be addressed.

I note a recent post on the death of Craig Jackson (A perhaps not so well known campaigner, except to some here) which for some vague reason has been removed. That’s unfortunate but hopefully we can see a more fitting tribute to a man that played such a significant role in this issue in New Zealand put back there. (By the Ministry of Men’s Affairs A community group … and author of that post)

The conflict that evolved was driven by the Family Court and while the Court managed to largely contain that within it secrecy provisions and through the media profile of its Principal Judge this had to eventually reach our Parliament, and it’s been noted here before that judges were referring clients of the court to the select committee process in cases where they simply did not have jurisdiction.

By this stage select committees, particularly the Social Services Select Committee, and the Justice and Electoral Committee were dominated by Feminist politicians and submissions were being thrown in the bin. The committee secretaries in these cases would not respond with the usual letter of acknowledgement, and if contacted by the submitter would say, “All I can say is that I have been instructed (contracted) not to talk to you.”

But they would not say by whom they had been instructed: the Chairman of the Committee or the Attorney-General; remembering that Parliament is a court and that the Attorney-General is head of the bar … being the line at which submitters make their presentation to Parliament in much the same style as we are used to seeing in daily court cases.

This was a significant problem that had existed for some 15 – 20 years when Jackson dogmatically confronted Parliament and forced a back down in what was the unwarranted censorship of the male voice and of issues confronting men that Feminists felt empowered to squash, simply because they had those privileged positions.

I’m not sure if the article that I’ve copied in below, that appeared in the Sunday Star Times under the name of Steve Kilgallon was the only media at the time but this comment by Stephen Franks is worth noting;

Lawyer and former MP Stephen Franks said parliamentary committees usually “lean over backwards, even to hear nutters” but the justice committee had a “real tension” between hearing the information they needed and not allowing people to air vendettas or say something defamatory. “[But] in this case, quite frankly, they ought to want to know the horror stories if they are looking at a reform of a court procedure.”

(Franks is a former ACT List MP during the time of the Shared Parenting Campaign but now shows as an affiliate to the National Party. He unsuccessfully stood as a National candidate in the Wellington electorate in 2008 against Grant Robertson, after ACT failed to maintain its parliamentary position once they dropped below the 5% threshold.)

But how much more eloquently can you say, Parliament has been hijacked, it has failed, and is not doing its job, or fulfilling its democratic responsibility.

What is most important to note though, is that what got this across the line was Jackson’s unselfish dedication to someone else’s plight.

It would be easy to say more about that but I do not want to detract from the credit Jackson deserves for what was a monumental effort in attention to an issue to which so many people are blind to or choose to turn a blind-eye to.

Men’s rights campaigners claim they’ve been silenced by a government select committee reviewing controversial planned changes to the Family Court.

Wellington psychologist Craig Jackson said he was told to cut part of his submission or he wouldn’t be heard; another campaigner, Adam Cowie, appears to have been excluded entirely.

Jackson and Cowie are among 350 submitters on the bill, but Justice and Electoral Reform committee chairman Scott Simpson says he hasn’t gagged anyone, but has to tread a careful line when discussing custody battles.

Lawyer and former MP Stephen Franks said parliamentary committees usually “lean over backwards, even to hear nutters” but the justice committee had a “real tension” between hearing the information they needed and not allowing people to air vendettas or say something defamatory. “[But] in this case, quite frankly, they ought to want to know the horror stories if they are looking at a reform of a court procedure.”

Cowie, who wrote a fictionalised account about his bitter custody dispute with his former wife, says he received no reply to his submission, despite indicating he wanted to make a personal appearance.

Jackson, whose submission quoted Cowie’s self-published Separated with Children, said he was told to excise any reference to Cowie or his submission would be refused.

“Adam’s case showed a complete failure of the system, that’s why they have tried to draw a curtain of silence around it because it is a damning indictment of the family courts,” Jackson said. “His case was a wonderful illustration of the complete failure of the system to do anything effective to protect children’s welfare, if nothing else.”

Jackson said he planned to use excerpts from Cowie’s book to illustrate his argument that reforms should recognise parental alienation of children as a psychological abuse sometimes perpetrated by women against men. But he says he was told to cut all reference to Cowie and that the committee wasn’t prepared to hear Cowie’s own submission: “It was an ultimatum.”

Jackson did produce a redacted version and says he was heard politely during a 10-minute appearance on Thursday.

The proposed changes to the Family Court have attracted an outcry from specialist lawyers and men’s and women’s groups alike.

Simpson, National MP for the Coromandel, said his committee had a duty to uphold natural justice and protect identities of children and former partners in individual cases.

Some submissions, he said, “were quite raw in their content, where people want to tell their personal story or history in court . . . we have to consider natural justice and protect the rights of those that are not present, because there are always two sides to every story”

9 Responses to “Crusade for Free Speech”

  1. Evan Myers says:

    This is where this government is taking us now. They are using the emotions of recent events to drag our democracy further into the dark ages.

    ‘Henry VIII powers’ allow the government to change an act of parliament, or even to repeal it, after it has been passed and without the need to go through parliament a second time. The clauses take their name from the 1539 Statute of Proclamations, which allowed Henry VIII to rule by royal proclamation, ie by decree.

  2. Downunder says:

    Perhaps these are different faces of the same problem.

    In the above case through the misuse of a select committee Parliament deceived the Crown.

    In respect of #1 cabinet is making a proclamation on behalf of the Crown without the authority of Parliament.

  3. Boonie says:

    Interesting situation here;

    Ms MacPherson had already twice declined to give the information to MPs when National MP Nick Smith had threatened to complain to the privileges committee if she didn’t meet the new deadline of today.

    Parliamentarians being inconsistent?

    On one hand they complain about not having accurate information from statistics New Zealand and on the other accepting and obstructing Family Court submissions to suit an institutional agenda.

  4. mama says:

    Elton John – Sorry seems to be the hardest word 1976 – YouTube

  5. Boonie says:

    I don’t see this as being productive … posting a song without your relative point of view.
    There is a feminist element amongst this which might be worth discussing.

    You don’t appreciate my point of view comes with the assumption that the point of view hasn’t been understood and the holder of that point of view feels entitled to an apology.

    Sorry, is not an answer to women who have decided on a life on entitlement rather than a life of education.

    I don’t like the feminist objective of controlling free speech for their own self interests.

  6. mama says:

    Boonie, sorry i should have been as clear as I could, as it was just an ‘Ode’ to free speech.

  7. Downunder says:

    Mama … ode to free speech?

    Elton is a great performer, musician … but we’d have to agree to disagree here.

    Sorry, is not a word in isolation. It’s hollow, nothing without emotional. Elton is no icon of free speech, and this ‘Ode’ is not poetry in motion, it’s just a story and probably one of his.

    When I first heard Roberta Flack singing “Killing me softly with his words” I heard those words but never knew the story behind that sincerity. She wrote that song after being in an audience listening to Don McLean sing.

    That’s the difference it wasn’t just the words it was the tone of voice, the emotion, the sincerity.

    An ode is a poem to music and it has to come with more than just words, it has to have the emotions with it.

    It’s a problem we have on the net in a similar way; we’re used to expressing our tone of voice in person, rather than in writing. It’s easy to take offense, get the wrong meaning, even in our local dialect, because we’re only talking, or arguing, or any number of things rather than an ode.

  8. mama says:

    I dont think it hollow to apologise to man for the encroachment of this weird period, to me it feels like a departing from so many things we grew up with in the seventies, however I agree it was not a match made in heaven ..music and ode, but sometimes it only takes a few words to bring home a feeling,,and it is getting more and more absurd, it may have been inarticulate but this song did that for me today.

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