Move to ban prolife club judged unconstitutional

A provisional decision to disaffiliate ProLife Auckland from the Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) will not proceed after legal advice found the move to be unconstitutional and void.

In August, an online referendum was held that contained a double question: “Should AUSA disaffiliate the ProLife Club and ban any clubs with similar ideology from affiliating in the future?”

The legal advice presented to AUSA found the referendum question could be considered biased or leading because it was not possible to answer each of the questions separately.

AUSA president Will Matthews said if the referendum question had been split into two questions it would have been a different matter.

“The way it was written is unconstitutional, so we have declared it void.”

ProLife New Zealand (PLNZ) spokeswoman Mary-Anne Evers said the club welcomed the news.

“The whole process baffled me a little, to be honest,” says Evers. “An unsubstantiated, anonymous question was submitted to be included in the AUSA referendum shortly before voting opened.

“The club had very little time to respond to it, or to engage students in real discussion on the matter.

“Then when the results came out they were “provisional” because they weren’t sure whether they were allowed to do what they were doing. It just didn’t seem like due process.

“They may not agree with the views that our clubs hold, but at least they recognise our right to free speech and don’t try to suppress views they disagree with.”

Evers hopes that the continued presence of Prolife Auckland at the University will “keep the conversation happening”.

She notes that “women on both sides of the debate have a lot in common.

“We both see difficult situations that women face, including unwanted or difficult pregnancies, or gender discrimination (often tied to motherhood or potential motherhood).


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