April 4th 2020

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The world has changed: Now for the new order

FAMILY AND SOCIETY Move to curtail underage online porn epidemic

CANBERRA OBSERVED ScoMo's delicate balancing act in extraordinary times

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Time and timing are crucial to Cardinal Pell's appeal by Peter Westmore

NEW ZEALAND Political divisions polarise across the Ditch

NEW ZEALAND Victorian Road Map smooths way of NZ anti-life clique to abortion 'reform'

FREE SPEECH Intolerance brigade at UQ attacks professor of Law

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Victoria lifts moratorium of gas exploration

CHINESE HISTORY The Soong Dynasty: Three sisters who rules China

LAW AND SOCIETY Guilt by accusation: The kangaroos are roaming freely through Australia's legal system

GENDER POLITICS Dr Quentin Van Meter's Australian talk is opening eyes in the U.S.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Australia is not safe in the borderless globalised world

SHOPPING AND SOCIETY The Ubermensch in the aisles

MUSIC We seem to have lost the point of counterpoint

CINEMA The Current War: Industrial miracle workers

BOOK REVIEW A dark trade that continues unabated worldwide

EBOOK READ THIS Both sides to this old story



NATIONAL AFFAIRS Use detention centres to help deal with covid19 epidemic

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Justice at last: Cardinal Pell set free

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Victorian Road Map smooths way of NZ anti-life clique to abortion 'reform'

by Bernard Moran

News Weekly, April 4, 2020

New Zealand’s Parliament by 68 votes to 51, on the night of March 18, passed a replica of Victoria’s 2008 Abortion Law Reform Act.

And, as happened in Victoria, all amendments were voted down.

Unknown to the public and most of the NZ media, the proponents of the Abortion Legislation Bill were working to a playbook designed in collaboration with their experienced Victorian counterparts.

And they say there are no snakes in New Zealand.

It’s entitled, “A Road Map to Abortion Law Reform: Conversations with some of the key organisations and individuals involved in the campaign for abortion law reform in Victoria, Australia”.

Commissioned by the Women’s Health Action Trust in Auckland, a well-connected advocacy group of feminists, the 11-page Road Map was written by Christy Parker, a policy analyst, in May 2010.

Fortuitously, a researcher looking for something completely different came across the open source Road Map on the trust’s website in June 2011 and forwarded it to me. Two days later, it was removed from the website.

I happened at the time to be the national president of Voice for Life and receiving the Road Map for decriminalisation was like gold. We kept strict silence about having it in our possession and set to work learning from the Victorian experience and preparing for the future.

At the time, the National Party was in power, with John Key Prime Minister and Bill English as deputy leader. Key was a social liberal but content with the status quo on abortion.

A devout Catholic and committed pro-lifer, Bill English took over as National Party leader when Key resigned a year out from the election in 2017.

Voice for Life invited Babette Francis to address our national conference and brief us on what happened in Victoria. In 2016, we invited then DLP Victorian MLA Rachel Carling-Jenkins over to advise us on political strategy.

Now, looking back on the recent passing of Abortion Legislation Bill, we can see that the NZ abortion-rights activists and MPs closely adhered to the recommendations in the Road Map.

Key strategies of the Road Map were as follows: “Informants (particularly the Royal Women’s Hospital) described the need for wide-based alliances of policymakers, lawyers, activists, politicians, academics health service workers, and for a range of different spokespeople from these various sectors able to deliver the same or similar message.

“Informants also insisted on the need to keep the message simple, to stay away from moral and ethical issues, and to focus on abortion as a health issue.

“Abortion is a health issue and should be provided as a health service. It should be removed from
the Crimes Act. Abortion is a necessary women’s health service.”

The Road Map stressed the “really important role” of the Royal Women’s Hospital: “They were able to claim expertise as ‘women’s health specialists’ producing submissions and opinion pieces against mandatory requirements. The hospital took a formal upfront role. It is important to have the support of the medical establishment and even better, a women’s health hospital.”

What really attracted our attention was the “vital development” of having the Victorian Law Reform Commission give the state government “a good platform to work from in drafting legislation”.

We could foresee a future NZ Labour Government in coalition with the Greens, employing the Law Commission as a Trojan horse to break through the political impasse and advise using the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act as a model.

As soon as Labour, the Greens and NZ First gained power in October 2017, that is what happened.

The new Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, had recently become pregnant with baby Neve, who was born in June 2018. On taking office, she immediately instructed Minister of Justice Andrew Little to request the Law Commission to recommend on models for abortion law reform. The Road Map strategy was under way.

The new Prime Minister was adored by young women journalists. The Road Map stated that they were key communicators of the message and, throughout 2019, they communicated constantly that abortion was a health issue, that women were being criminalised for having an abortion, and that they had to “jump through hoops” in the process.

Adern and Little told whoppers when they said they wanted an end to women being made criminals. Section 183 (2) of the Crimes Act clearly states that no woman can be convicted for having an abortion.

The pro-life movement found it almost impossible to be heard, except through paid advertisements. The Minister of Justice, in charge of the Abortion Bill, was asked by a senior journalist on March 14 if he had seen any advertisements from Voice for Life.

Little replied: “Personally, I ignore communications from extremist groups.”

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm