INDEPENDENT NEWS

MP Tim Barnett’s attack on Opponent of CU Bill

Published: Wed 1 Dec 2004 09:11 AM
THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE CIVIL UNION BILL & RELATIONSHIPS BILL http://www.civil-unions.org contact@civil-unions.org
Press Release
MP Tim Barnett’s attack on Opponent of CU Bill
30 November 2004
Labour MP Tim Barnett, Chair of the Justice and Electoral Committee that has just reported back to Parliament on the Civil Union Bill, has lashed out against the Christian spokesperson for a website set up by Christian scholars to specifically advance robust and rational arguments against the Civil Union Bill and Relationships Bill. The website can be found at
http://www.civil-unions.org
Mr Barnett wrote in an e-mail today to the spokesperson of the website Rev. Garnet Milne, a senior Minister in the Reformed Churches of New Zealand, who presented an oral submission on behalf of his churches against the Bills.
“I vote with the knowledge that your grossly misinformed and dangerous beliefs about homosexuality are much more a threat to the peace of our nation and that welfare of our people than anything I could ever do as a politician.” [copied below]
Mr Milne says: “I was very surprised and saddened that this message could have come from one who has had the important responsibility of impartially chairing a select committee of parliament on an issue as important as this one. Tim has provided no evidence at all that anything on our website is “misinformed”. He has failed to provide any evidence that our beliefs are “dangerous”. The views expressed on our website are in line with those put forward by over 90% of the written submissions to the committee on the Civil Union Bill. To suggest that our views pose “a threat to the peace of our nation” is incredible and bizarre. Most mature New Zealanders would fail to see how such an extreme statement could ever be expressed by a fair-minded politician in touch with reality. We challenge Tim to provide the evidence for his claims and we will publish them immediately on our website and respond to them.”
The Campaign Against the Civil Union Bill has already posted a similar challenge on its website and has received no specific response from any MP before this bizarre one. The posting reads:
“We challenge any MP to openly quote and identify in parliament anything on our website or in our literature that establishes that we have committed a “hate crime” and/or engaged in “hate speech” and provide the reasons and the grounds for the reasons for making such a claim(s).”
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/PO0411/S00236.htm
The Campaign Against the Bills does not accept that Mr Barnett’s communication constitutes any sort of challenge to our case against the Bills. He provides no evidence. His outburst is a sad indictment of a government that would see fit to put such a person in charge of the select committee considering these Bills.
Garnet Milne. Spokesman Campaign Against the Civil Union and Relationships Bills
-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Barnett [mailto:Tim.Barnett@parliament.govt.nz]
Sent: Tuesday, 30 November 2004 9:01 a.m.
To: Garnet Milne
Cc: Tony Milne
Subject: RE: A plea for the afflicted homosexual
Dear Garnet,
I vote with the knowledge that your grossly misinformed and dangerous beliefs about homosexuality are much more a threat to the peace of our nation and that welfare of our people than anything I could ever do as a politician.
Best wishes,
Tim

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