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Dunne distances himself from freedom

Dunne distances himself from freedom for Christians

Tuesday 15 Feb 2005

Stephen Franks - Press Releases - Other

United Future's astonishing support for Labour's censorship amendment bill will enable the film censor to ban or restrict Christian videos, ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Four years ago the censor tried to suppress the `Living Word' video, which urged teenagers against homosexuality. The Films, Videos and Publications Classification Amendment Bill, being debated today, will empower the censor to reverse the Court of Appeal's decision that he was illegally suppressing free-speech," Mr Franks said.

"This isn't just another disappointment for Christians. It is dangerous for all who believe that even those whose ideas we detest must be free to express them. Peter Dunne may think he is just cutely re-positioning his party. In fact, he is smoothing the path for Labour to pass `hate speech' laws later this year. Then they can prosecute critics of their social engineering.

"Christians shouldn't be surprised if they hear roosters crowing around Parliament this afternoon, as another Peter tries to deny association with them.

"For reasons that have never been explained, United Future MP Marc Alexander introduced a members' bill two years ago to allow the censor to ignore the restriction on his banning powers to sex, horror, violence, exploitation of children, torture and so forth. One year ago Mr Alexander withdrew his bill. Now we see why. He must have been in on the little scheme now hiding in this bill.

"Labour has, of course, deliberately linked the increase in penalties for genuine child pornographers, to this scheme to use censorship law against its unfashionable critics. ACT will of course support the increase in penalties, and in particular the increase proposed last week by the Hon Phil Goff to head off Deborah Coddington's amendment.

"I'll be moving amendments to ensure the censor's new powers are less likely to be abused. If the bill emerges from this committee stage unscathed, we will have to vote against it to uphold liberty, including for the fundamentalist Christians, whose views we may not share.

"ACT will have no part in enabling the politically correct to use hate speech law to shelter from debate," Mr Franks said.

ENDS

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