Saturday, June 04, 2005

Sedition by Example XV: Edward Hunter

(An ongoing attempt to excite disaffection against our archaic law against sedition)

Excerpt from an address by Edward Hunter, Newtown Park, January, 1913:

The strikers control the Coast, and have set aside all law and order. The men on strike were told by the leaders that they had the freedom of the city there, and, having that, could do anything they thought fit. There is a Mayor in Westport, but he has been set aside, and everything is controlled by the strikers. They can bring the 'specials' round to the Coast, in fact, we give them a special invitation, and I swear this, in the name of the party most concerned, that for every one 'special' they care to put down on the Coast, up to one thousand, we can put down one beside him, just as good a man, and if this is going to be a contest as to who is going to control, then we are prepared to make it a contest. More than that, we men know that this Government is shedding blood. we had our fellow-workers brutally murdered in Waihi. There is no one instance from the workers' ranks where we have caused any bloodshed. Now, if they are going to shed our blood, why should we look on at our women and children being clubbed, and offer no retaliation? Now if they want a revolution they can have it. If they force it on us they can have a revolution.

Hunter was tried for sedition, but the jury could not agree on a verdict. A retrial convicted him of "uttering seditious words", and he was sentenced to 12 months probation.

(Source: Coal, Class and Community: The United Mineworkers of New Zealand 1880 - 1960, by Len Richardson, Auckland University Press, 1995)