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Select committee members attack freedom of speech

Media Statement
For immediate release
Friday, 8 April 2005

Smith: Select committee members attack freedom of speech

United Future's Murray Smith today slammed as undemocratic the attempt by some members of the justice and electoral select committee to prevent him from having a minority report critical of the Abortion Supervisory Committee included in a committee report.

"When I asked to have the ASC appear before the select committee the other parties voted this down, and now Labour, National and NZ First have the cheek to argue that, because the ASC did not appear before the committee, United Future should be denied the right to criticise it" Mr Smith said.

"It is an outrageous abuse of the democratic process to stop questions being asked and then to say that no critical minority report should be allowed because no questions were asked!"

Mr Smith said the logical conclusion of such an approach would be that any select committee majority (including a majority government) could totally suppress any criticism of any government agency.

"That is not democracy; it is totalitarianism. And it is a massive disservice to society at another level, where a touchstone issue is not allowed to be fully, openly and freely debated and discussed."

Labour, National and NZ First should apologise to Parliament for their attempt to undermine a cornerstone freedom of our democracy, he said.


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