Bradford's Bill More Bizarre than Ever.

Published: Wed 7 Mar 2007 09:58 AM
Press Release For Immediate Distribution
Bradford's Bill More Bizarre than Ever.
MP and lawyer Russell Fairbrother of the Labour Party has just issued a most bizarre legal opinion on Bradford's Bill to rewrite Section 59 in which he emphatically states, "The proposed changes do not criminalise parents who smack....These proposals allow force - 'smacking' - if it is to stop harm to the child or another, stop the child doing something criminal, stop offensive or disruptive behaviour, or the need to smack is part of the normal daily tasks of good parenting."
This is fascinating! Bradford and other anti-smackers such as Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro and UNICEF spokesman Beth Woods have been warning us repeatedly and passionately that smacking does irreparable harm, often leads to increased brutality, teaches children that hitting and violence is an acceptable response, etc., etc. Yet now their major ally, the Labour Party, says Bradford's Bill justifies smacking in a whole range of scenarios. In fact, this legal opinion states that smacking can be a normal part of "good parenting"! These ladies must be spitting tacks!
To more fully understand what Fairbrother has unleashed here, let me do what Bradford, Kiro and Woods do all the time and substitute "hit", "beat" and "abuse" for "smack". We see now that Bradford's Bill, according to her Labour ally's legal opinion, gives parents a license to abuse their children as part of the normal daily tasks of good parenting, lets parents hit their toddlers to prevent them from doing harm to themselves and justifies parents when they severely beat their children to stop them from disruptive behaviour. It appears that a major fault line has ruptured the way Labour and Greens view this Bill.
What Fairbrother's legal opinion failed to mention was that the Bill specifically and emphatically forbids any use of reasonable force to perform one of the most core primary duties of parents: to correct their children's bad behaviour! The Bill allows smacking to stop bad behaviour, but not even the lightest or most reasonable use of force to correct it. What are sane people to make of that?

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