Prior to June 2007 section 59 of the Crimes Act read as follows: Every parent of a child and every person in the place of the parent of a child is justified in using force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.
No law is perfect, but by general consensus of those outside the Liberal Left this law worked just fine. Smacking a child was technically an assault, but on the rare occasions that people were prosecuted they had a defence of “reasonable force”. This contained the common sense principle of proportionality, i.e. the reasonable force for correcting a two year old throwing a tantrum is different to the reasonable force for correcting an 80kg/176 lb twelve year old who is smashing up the lounge.
Notice the use of the term “correction”. Like it or not, our legal system originally came from the Bible, although it’s getting further and further from its roots as time goes on. The Bible mandates corporal punishment as a means of correcting children, i.e. directing them from the incorrect behaviour to the correct one. Why is this? Plenty of research and my personal observation is that children who are smacked in the correct manner, i.e. without malice or anger, and with consistency, shows that this is a highly effective manner of correction and that the children turn out to be more obedient and respectful than children who are not smacked. Children learn from pain: if they put their hand in the fire, they learn that fire burns them. Giving a child a trifling amount of pain to teach them that an action is incorrect is simply following the laws of nature. This law acknowledged the right of parents to use a highly effective form of child training.
As an aside, why are so many people opposed to smacking? Firstly, I think that many had childhood experiences of smacking given in the incorrect manner. Secondly, they have been exposed to state indoctrination from school onwards.
In June 2007 section 59 was changed to this:
Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of the child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of—
(a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or
(b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that amounts to a criminal offence; or
(c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour; or
(d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.
(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.
(4) To avoid doubt, it is affirmed that the Police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against a parent of a child or person in the place of a parent of a child in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child, where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution.
Most people get bogged down in the smacking is right/smacking is wrong debate, and this debate is made more difficult by the Liberal Left and the media who portray smacking and beating as the same thing, often calling any form of physical punishment “beating”. Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that a smack (e.g. a swat on the rump steak) is different to a beating (e.g. a baseball bat applied to the head). However, focusing on the smacking is right/wrong debate is missing the transcendent issue. What is the transcendent issue?
The transcendent issue is this: the government is telling parents what they can and cannot do whilst raising their children. Read the law again carefully: the government is saying that you can only use reasonable force with your child to prevent or halt harm to another person or that child, to prevent or halt criminal behaviour, to prevent or halt offensive or disruptive behaviour, or for normal daily tasks. These permissions were added when it was realised that a simple repeal of section 59 would have made any touching or carrying of a child an assault.
Then the government says that you are not allowed to use force to correct your children. This arrant arrogance ranks alongside that of explorers in centuries past who would land on a foreign shore and claim it in the name of their sovereign without any consideration for the inhabitants. As the explorers invaded foreign lands, so the government is invading homes. The Labour/Green cabal believes that smacking children is wrong, so they have imposed their beliefs on the entire population, despite the objections of more than 80% of that population. This shows that they are not interested in serving the people, rather they are only interested in ruling the people. In doing so they have removed the most effective form of child training, so they might as well start building extra prisons now.
Remember that the Prime Minister of the government that is telling you how to raise your children is a woman who has no children of own, who condones the murder of unborn children, and who condones paedophilia (Labour wanted to legalise sex with twelve year olds). Would you go to such a woman for advice on parenting? Personally I’d rather go to a pit viper with PMS.
Thanks to Stan Blanch for this cartoon that captures the socialist/marxist attitude so well.