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Rankin appointment could sabotage Families Comm

12 May 2009

Rankin appointment could sabotage Families Commission

Green Party MP Sue Bradford expressed surprised today at Christine Rankin's appointment as a Families Commissioner.

"For years, Ms Rankin has been a high-profile opponent of the s59 reform of the Crimes Act that has played an important role in keeping children safe from violence," Ms Bradford said today.

"Over the same period, the Families Commission promoted and supported the reform. Ms Rankin's appointment seems like a deliberate move that will divide the Commission. This amounts to a form of political sabotage."

If National's agenda is to abolish the Families Commission it would be honest to do it directly rather than subvert it through political appointments, Ms Bradford said.

Ms Rankin was an outspoken defender of the old law which allowed some parents to beat their children and hide behind the legal definition of 'reasonable force', Ms Bradford said.

"The law reform is working well," Ms Bradford said. "Three police reviews have confirmed that it works, and there's no evidence of parents being charged for trivial or inconsequential assaults."

"I'm extremely concerned about the influence Ms Rankin's views may have on the future of the Commission's work on violence against children, and the future of the Commission itself.

"Ms Rankin is an outspoken supporter of using physical force against children, and at one time mounted a personal attack on the then Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro. The National Government's appointment of Ms Rankin risks undermining the Families Commission.

"I accept Ms Rankin's right to hold her misguided beliefs in opposing reform and her support for a misleading petition, but I don't think it's right that someone who has played such a high-profile part in supporting the right of parents to hit children should be entrusted with this vital role.

"This appointment will lower the credibility of the Families Commission in the eyes of many," Ms Bradford


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