Monday, June 15, 2009

The referendum campaign is underway

Today I had a note from the Orange Man in my letterbox, reminding me of the upcoming referendum on the child discipline bill. The announcement has already produced a flurry of press releases from supporters of the Yes Vote Campaign - Women's Refuge, Plunket, Barnados and the Parent's Centre among others - urging people to vote "yes" to retain the law as it presently stands. I guess the campaign is officially underway then.

If you're not sure, you should check whether you are on the electoral roll. If you're not, you need to enrol quickly. I think the web service linked above gives you the option of having forms sent to your house; otherwise you can visit a Post Shop, text your address to 3676, or call 0800 36 76 56. If you are enrolled, then voting papers should show up in the mail near the end of next month.

Over the next month I expect to see a succession of unhinged press releases from the child-beaters claiming that the law somehow impinges on their religious freedom or has caused the widespread persecution of parents. It does nothing of the sort. What it has done is prevent parents who punch their children in the face or beat them with a soup ladle from claiming a defence of "reasonable force". And that is unequivocally a Good Thing. The only people who oppose that are people who wish to abuse children in that way - and we should treat them with the contempt they deserve.