Title: Rotten core: The League of Rights and Binding Citizens Initiated Referenda Credit: Craig Young Comment Tuesday 9th August 2005 - 12:00pm1123545600 Article: 851 Rights
New Zealand First's core Binding Citizens Initiated Referenda (BCIR) policy is endangering lesbian/gay and other minority rights within New Zealand. Winston Peters has some questions to answer about the BCIR movement's backers. Some months ago, I objected to the prospect of a binding citizens initiated referendum on the issue of civil unions because I am opposed to BCIRs. They have been used to attack LGBT rights in the United States, against anti-discrimination laws (Colorado, 1992) and same-sex marriage (2004-5). When Steve Baron denied this, I noted that the New Zealand League of Rights was a vocal backer of the Binding Citizens Initiated Referendum movement. Until I sat down and read a decades worth of back issues of On Target, the League's (currently) bimonthly newsletter, I had little idea how deeply the League of Rights was involved in promoting that agenda. When Steve Baron stated that the League was merely one amongst a number of backers, he was misleading Gaynz.Com's readers. Why should we be concerned about the League of Rights? Isn't it an anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant group which has little involvement in LGBT rights? No. Auckland conspiracy theorist Barbara Faithful has been a frequent contributor to On Target over the last decade, and her diatribes also feature occassionally in Challenge Weekly. If I were the Greens, I'd be rather interested that Faithful appears to be one of the influences behind the emergence of the Christian Right pro-belting fringe groups opposed to repeal or amendment of Section 59 of the Crimes Act. In two articles, "Criminal Parents?" and "Children's Rights and the United Nations: There's More to It Than Meets the Eye," Faithful spins a fantastic tale of the United Nations, New Zealand liberal reformers and neomarxist conspiratorial drivel. No wonder the Christian Right is so paranoid about child protection agencies coming to take their children away... One may also recall dear Babs histrionics when it came to the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill in 2002. Remember when she slagged off Tim Barnett and Eugene Moore, over their past respective Stonewall and local anti-Christian Coalition activist involvements? It's all there as well. Finally, there's an interesting little piece from a conservative Catholic medical practitioner, Austin Welsh, lionising the 'ex-gay' movement and so-called 'reparative therapy.' Predictably, he treats junk scientists like Irving Beiber, Paul Cameron, Joseph Nicolosi and Gerd van den Aardweg as if they were credible mainstream mental health professionals, which none of them are. So okay, the League of Rights is as antigay as it is anti-Semitic, anti-Maori and anti-immigrant. So why should we be so concerned about binding citizens initiated referenda, then? The League of Rights and National Front appear to either be working closely together, or else have overlapping membership. In one On Target (July/August 2002), I found a flier from Kerry Bolton, a Kapiti-area based National Front activist. His boonk was entitled "Useful Idiots of the New World Order: How Feminism, Socialism, Marijuana Law Reform, Gay Rights and Abortion Liberalisation Destroy the Family and Create a World State" (Spectrum: Paraparaumu: 2002). Could the League explain why its newsletter is carrying a flier from a member of an organisation that espouses racist violence? Could Steve Baron please explain why he is apparently so closely involved with an organisation that distributes the aforementioned flier on behalf of kindred organisations' members? Throughout 2003-04, Baron either wrote articles about BCIR, or else offered the name of his organisation (Voters Voice), as well as listing their post office box and its URL. On Target announced that Baron, "An Aickland Businessman Launches A Petition for Binding Citizens Initiated Referenda" (January/February 2003). In May/June 2003, Baron advocated a "Supreme Court Referendum" which would have wasted money on a BCIR against abolition of the right to appeal to the Privy Council in the United Kingdom. In July/August 2003, On Target carried extensive coverage about Voters Voice and BCIR activism. Baron lambasted the Greens for their opposition to BCIRs, and noted that Tasmanian Green Senator Bob Brown had obstructed BCIRs in that Australian state. It also carried an article from ex-Queensland Premier Russell Cooper, who was a new convert to the movement. As time went on, New Zealand First made an increasing appearance within the pages of On Target. It should be noted though, that there were no quotes from direct party sources. Be that as it may, it covered approving comments when NZF List MP Edwin Perry supported the BCIR movement, as did Presbyterian Church Reverend Richard Colgrave of St.Cuthbert's Church, who believed that immigration, defence, Treaty of Waitangi issues and prostitution law reform should be put to the BCIR vote (On Target, September/October 2003). Finally, in November/December 2003, On Target made reference to Winston Peters re-endorsement of binding citizens initiated referenda as a core New Zealand First policy. Again, as with all the other BCIR advocacy articles that Baron authored for the League of Rights within its newsletter, it carried Voters Voices' postal address and URL. Even more significantly, it carried appreciative comments about Don Brash, related to his Treaty-bashing and comments about binding citizens initiated referenda related to our nuclear-free policies. For these statements, Brash was awarded pride of place on the front page of On Target in its January/Febuary 2004 issue. Significantly, On Target editor Bill Daly and Steve Baron both devoted space to attacking New Zealand's nuclear-free stance through a binding citizens initiated referenda strategy in the Jan/Feb and March/April 2004 On Targets. Exactly what is going on here? It looks like an avowedly League-oriented front group has been established to promote the cause of binding citizens initiated referenda, and then, New Zealand First strongly reaffirmed that stance, as one of their core policies. Please explain, Mr. Peters. One hopes that the New Zealand First leader sees fit to expell such individuals from his party if they have infiltrated it. These people are no mere populists, they are overt and blatant neofascists. Our communities need to realise that Winston Peters and his carpetbaggers have now become far too extreme to allow anywhere near the Treasury benches. Not only could they be used to attack our hard-won relationship equality and antidiscrimination gains, but the BCIR movement seems to be a front for something else, and not 'mainstream.' Definitely not that. Websites: League of Rights website New Zealand National Front New Zealand First Voters Voice Action Group Bibliography: Barbara Faithful "Criminal Parents?" On Target 11 October 1994: 36. Barbara Faithful "Children's Rights and the United Nations: There's More to It Than Meets the Eye" On Target 14 February 1996. [Auckland conspiracy theorist Faithful attacks child health and welfare professionals who advocate repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act.] Barbara Faithful [Letter]: On Target March/April 2002: [Faithful attacks the hate crimes provisions of the Sentencing and Parole Reform Act 2002, Tim Barnett, Stonewall and Eugene Moore's involvement in the campaign against the Christian Coalition back in 1996. Why does this look so similar to Bernard Moran's Investigate article, "Queerly Beloved," from last year?] Austin Welsh: "On the Origins and Treatment of Homosexuality" On Target October 28, 1997: {Welsh is a conservative Catholic doctor and advocate of exgay 'reparative therapy.' His diatribe cites Paul Cameron, Joseph Nicolosi, Irving Beiber, Charles Socarides and Gerard Van Den Aardweg as if they were mainstream mental health sources, which they are not.] See also: On Target: July/August 2002: Carries Kerry Bolton's aforementioned book flier. "Auckland Businessman Launches Petition For Binding Citizens Initiated Referenda" On Target: January/February 2003. [Contains Baron's name, Voters Voices postal address and URL.] "Binding Referendum Petition" On Target: May/June 2003: [Baron advocates Supreme Court establishment BCIR] "Media Release" On Target: July/August 2003: [Baron writes eight pages of copy for On Target, citing Green opposition to BCIRs and noting that ex-Queensland State Premier Russell Cooper now supports BCIRS] "Winston Peters Backs BCIRS" "Can You Help?" On Target November/December 2003: [Both include Baron's name, a Voters Voice PO Box Number and URL] Bill Daly: "Referendums and the Defence of Real Sovereignty": Steve Baron, "Written Constitution and the Nuclear Issue" On Target: March/April 2004. [BCIRs should be held to ascertain support for our nuclear-free policy.] Craig Young - 9th August 2005    
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