78pc of parents say they'll still smack

The new anti-smacking law continues to be highly unpopular but not all of that opposition translates into voting intentions, a survey has found.

The survey of more than 900 adults, commissioned by the Family First group, found that 62 per cent disagreed with the law.

From Thursday, the changes to the Crimes Act outlaw the use of parental force against children for the purposes of correction.

But last-minute changes to the bill, which were approved by a large majority in Parliament, direct the police not to prosecute "inconsequential" offences against the law.

Previously, the Crimes Act permitted the defence of reasonable force for parental corporal punishment used to correct children.

The survey's other main findings were that:

* 77 per cent thought it unlikely the new law would help reduce the rate of child abuse.

* 82 per cent thought it should be changed to state that parents who smacked their children to correct them were not breaking the law.

* 59 per cent said a political party promising to change the law in that way would make no difference to their vote.

* 78 per cent would smack their children for correction if they believed it was reasonable to do so.

Family First director Bob McCoskrie said the latter finding was surprising and of huge concern to his group.

"For a new law to be ignored by so many people who are willing to risk a police investigation indicates just how out of step with reality this law is."

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