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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”


  1. 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.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Fri 5th April 2019 @ 8:18 am

  2. 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.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 5th April 2019 @ 8:42 am

  3. 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.

    Comment by Boonie — Wed 10th April 2019 @ 7:20 am

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

    Comment by mama — Fri 12th April 2019 @ 8:12 am

  5. This to everyone….

    Comment by mama — Fri 12th April 2019 @ 8:14 am

  6. 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.

    Comment by Boonie — Fri 12th April 2019 @ 1:20 pm

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

    Comment by mama — Fri 12th April 2019 @ 2:01 pm

  8. 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.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 12th April 2019 @ 3:20 pm

  9. 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 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.

    Comment by mama — Fri 12th April 2019 @ 5:29 pm

  10. What I left out of the post was the date stamp on the article; 10:58, Mar 10 2013

    About 15 years previous Jackson, as we would say in today’s language was ‘being bullied’ in his professional environment. As a psychologist, he has ‘their’ qualification.

    But he was also very politically aware. Back then he was talking about the parliamentary situation. That discussion (to use my words) he saw the situation as a fault line on which he could raise awareness. At the time the shared parenting campaign was in full swing through to around 2003.

    In the following 10 years Jackson would need to find a case that had the hall marks of family court failure along with a guy who was not only prepared to stand up and fight but looked like he could handle the pressure and go the distance.

    The regular cycle of the family court is a new system, protocols get put in place. A resistance builds up to the failures, the system falls over, there’s an inquiry and starts over again. Another round of select committee hearings would be inevitable.

    This is not something Jackson would have decided to support a couple of months before hand because someone was making a submission. This had been on his agenda for 10 – 15 years and the tension that Franks referred to would have been a cooperation between the Family Law cartel and Feminist MPs to shut him down.

    As a professional from within the environment he had the ammunition to get a representative case over the line.

    It’s hard to have a concept of how much work would have gone into this one event, and how much skill and determination is required to get past the opposition and make this a reportable event.

    He actually did it. He worked with his professional background, backed himself and against the odds he got there. I would bet my last dollar, that wasn’t the end of it. There would have been a bunch of seething bitches that extracted revenge … that got him back.

    Perhaps in the end he sacrificed his professional career because he was of an age where he could do that.

    This is how hard it actually is to create a window of reality in the media and even then the depth of that reality can be obscured because the reader has never been involved in a similar situation.

    This is the gap between public awareness and the feminist juggernaut.

    Comment by Downunder — Mon 15th July 2019 @ 7:49 am


    The above link is to a post about Adam Cowie’s book.

    Comment by Boonie — Mon 15th July 2019 @ 9:39 am

  12. #10 Beautifully put, thank you Downunder. These are important stories.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sat 3rd August 2019 @ 10:26 am

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