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Is it indefensible for a lawmaker to support unlawful behaviour? [With Poll]

By johnboy - 20 March 2012 26

Liberal Leader Zed Seselja is flogging his dead horse about Shane Rattenbury’s past links to Greenpeace.

Weirdly Zed feels it’s important for the Green MLA to say things Zed wants him to say. But his argument gets weirder still:

Two Greenpeace members have pleaded guilty to property damage of CSIRO experimental crops reportedly worth $300,000. ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said today it is now up to Shane Rattenbury to finally condemn illegal, destructive behaviour.

“Now that the Greenpeace members who broke into the CSIRO facility and ruined these crops have pleaded guilty, it is up to Shane Rattenbury to condemn it, as he has refused to do to date,” Mr Seselja said.

“Just last week, he refused to immediately and unequivocally condemn the apparent destruction of property at a Canberra egg farm.

“It’s indefensible for any lawmaker to support unlawful behaviour, let alone the Speaker of the Assembly.

“I call on Shane Rattenbury to today publicly state his position on the CSIRO case,” Mr Seselja concluded.

Let’s look at that again:

It’s indefensible for any lawmaker to support unlawful behaviour

It seems to me that history is replete with great law makers who supported unlawful behaviour, because they believed the law was wrong, and were vindicated by history.

Springing to mind are the parliamentarians who said no to Charles I and gave birth to what we think of as Westminster Democracy, slavery abolitionists both in the UK and the USA, Germans who opposed genocide, and South Africans who stood up against apartheid.

I’m also pretty sure the great US legislator Lyndon Johnson would fall afoul of Zed’s dictum with his work towards civil rights.

I’m not convinced Shane Rattenbury’s conscience falls into this category. But if all lawmakers will be forced to subvert their consciences to the laws as they stand we’ll be, in my opinion, in a pretty dark place.

"It’s indefensible for any lawmaker to support unlawful behaviour"

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Aside from the poll I invite readers to nominate individuals from history, greater than Zed Seselja, who supported unlawful behaviour?

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
Is it indefensible for a lawmaker to support unlawful behaviour? [With Poll]
Frustrated 8:20 pm 20 Mar 12

SnapperJack said :

How about Dr Jim Cairns and Gough Whitlam supporting the anti-Vietnam War protesters?

As they should have, you idiot.

We all feel for the vietname vets and young men killed over there, but the war was not acceptable.

Iraq war was illegal, perhaps Jack Boot Johnny should be tried for war crimes?

Hypocrite!

Diggety 7:59 pm 20 Mar 12

I think Seselja, Rattenbury and johnboy are all wrong on this one.

* Seselja because he presumes and ignores too much.
* Rattenbury for indirectly supporting illegal activity.
* Johnboy for the historic analogies he uses.

Remember, we are talking about GM food and spatial allocations for chickens here.

Jethro 7:20 pm 20 Mar 12

zippyzippy said :

Anyway, some proper examples: Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi. Daniel Ellsberg. Wobblies. Um… George Clooney?

Most weren’t political leaders. Nonetheless, I agree with the idea that civil disobedience is sometimes necessary.

Also, Nelson Mandela was a terrorist (people seem to forget this because he was fighting on the right side). Is terrorism justified when you are fighting evil?

zippyzippy 5:40 pm 20 Mar 12

Anyway, some proper examples: Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi. Daniel Ellsberg. Wobblies. Um… George Clooney?

zippyzippy 5:37 pm 20 Mar 12

Yes, yes! And remember that great historical figure, ACT Liberal Steve Pratt MLA, saying if “push comes to shove, I will chain myself to a bulldozer to stop this going ahead”.

Wait… what? I thought that ACT Liberals weren’t allowed to say that!

trevar 5:31 pm 20 Mar 12

Zed, Zed, Zed, Zed, Zed, if you can’t find a way to defend something, you’re not trying hard enough. Have another go, you big quitter!

Of course, if you don’t think it’s something you want to defend, as the rest of your release seems to be saying, then it’s irrelevant to you whether it’s defensible or not, so why bother saying it’s indefensible at all?

Our politicians low literacy is indefensible! No, wait…

Duffbowl 5:02 pm 20 Mar 12

Not Australian examples, but from within the Westminster system. More than one elected MP, as well as members of city, town and rural councils, supported the Irish Republican Army during the Independence War.

Mysteryman 4:15 pm 20 Mar 12

“Charles I and gave birth to what we think of as Westminster Democracy, slavery abolitionists both in the UK and the USA, Germans who opposed genocide, and South Africans who stood up against apartheid”

Were those in your examples supporting unlawful behaviour, or were they campaigning for a change to lawful (at the time) behaviour?

To the issue at hand – I don’t think Zed should be wasting his time with this crap. He’d profit (and we might too) from spending more of his time coming up with sensible and practical policies. Instead he’s name-calling and dobbing, and generally wasting time (which he may or may not be recording properly).

R. Slicker 3:58 pm 20 Mar 12

How about NSW premier Neville Wran who publicly supported men breaking the anti-gay laws in NSW while the Catholic Right of the Labor party was refusing to allow him to repeal the laws during the first part of his premiership 1976-86.

johnboy 3:55 pm 20 Mar 12

Yikes, indeed.

Fixed.

Jerry Atric 3:53 pm 20 Mar 12

As an aside I think you mean Charlie 2’s dad, Charlie one, ciil war and all. I am old enough to remember. Apart from that I agree. Rattenbury is not a law officer and has a right to shut up. Would that more pollies followed suit.

SnapperJack 3:50 pm 20 Mar 12

SnapperJack said :

How about Dr Jim Cairns and Gough Whitlam supporting the anti-Vietnam War protesters?

… and the draft dodgers who refused to fight in the war

SnapperJack 3:49 pm 20 Mar 12

How about Dr Jim Cairns and Gough Whitlam supporting the anti-Vietnam War protesters?

harvyk1 3:47 pm 20 Mar 12

I don’t see why Shane Rattenbury has to publicly state his position on anything. Unless Mr Rattenbury personally instructed these people to preform illegal acts, I don’t see how such actions can reflect on Mr Rattenbury.

Furthermore he is quite entitled to have a position of “they did the wrong things for the right reason.” which is what I suspect the official position is.

c_c 3:39 pm 20 Mar 12

When you’ve got JB bringing up Charles II and the Jim Crow era, you know you’ve gone terribly wrong.

I think it’s both desperate and very dim strategically for Zed to go down this route. The inquiry into his own office’s conduct hasn’t concluded yet, so going after someone who is at arms length, supporting an environmental organisation will back fire badly if it turns out he was directly overseeing inept or even corrupt management.

Reminds me of a wonderful John Howard quote back in 94 when he was roasting Keating. Something along the lines of the more you attack us, the more you show your embarrassment about your past and that you have no vision for the future.

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