Media ID   0215-A    

Parliamentary debate (9 October 1985 and 16 October 1985) on the second reading of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill, plus excerpts (8 March 1985) from the introduction of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill

Unique ID



Bruce Townshend, Fran Wilde, Margaret Shields, Philip Burdon, Richard Northey, Trevor de Cleene

Related media

0214-AB, 0215-B


Source tape





9 October 1985, 8 March 1985, 16 October 1985







Recorded by


Barry Neels

Deposited by


Barry Neels


Parliamentary debate on the second reading spans 0213 – 0223, and 0206


This summary gives general themes as to the content of this recording. It is not a verbatim transcript. Always refer back to the original audio. This is a working document and any amendments/corrections are welcome.




Parliamentary debate (9 October 1985) on the second reading of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill



Margaret Shields [continued from 0214-AB, 9 October 1985] - personal story .. a family I knew had a son who had inexplicable accidents.. he tried to talk about homosexuality.. the mother didn’t think it was that important.. he tried desperately to change.. he went to Ashburn Hall.. even tried to get married.. he had been brought up as a Catholic.. In his suicide note..



The following audio is taken from the introduction of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill to Parliament (8 March 1985) .. It appears as part of the original debate on 0205-A.



Richard Northey - I’ve been a member of the Homosexual Law Reform Society since the mid-1960s.. I consider it a vital and urgent matter.. human rights.. equality.. Homosexual preference is not developed through corruption.. sexual identity.. sexual oppression and inadequacies for young people.. sexually transmitted diseases.. homosexuals are not child molesters.. to deny the expression of physical affection to a group of society .. most of the major churches support the need to change.. it is natural.. Kinsey report .. people clearly support this change..



Winston Peters - The perception will be that this is a Labour Party Bill..



Speaker – call Fran Wilde to reply..



Fran Wilde – Fran Wilde – Response to points made.. All research points to the fact that sexual orientation happens at a very young age.. I didn’t feel that I needed to send my intentions to Members that would oppose this Bill.. This is not a Government measure.. compiled list of MPs not compiled by me.. AIDS.. the major reason for change is that the law is no longer relevant.. I would ask Members to vote for this Bill..



Speaker – vote.



Parliamentary debate (16 October 1985) on the second reading of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill



Bruce Townshend – AIDS.. raise the age from sixteen years.. three reasons – girls mature faster, I will vote against the second reading..



Townshend – I would invite Members to think about this issue in the personal context.. we must as a Parliament adopt a broad perspective.. touching letter from a woman who wrote the finest man I ever met was a homosexual.. I married him.. I am now 74.. don’t make a criminal of him..



Trevor de Cleene – I’d like to praise this debate.. I’m the last person to be judgmental..



de Cleene – History .. prior to 1533 there was nothing in criminal law.. In the 16 Century we brought the law of God into the criminal law.. burnt at the stake.. total prohibition in 1885..Oscar Wilde.. It came into the courts not because it was a crime against man but against God



de Cleene – I don’t give a damn what they do long as they don’t scare the horses.. I will vote for decriminalisation.. If it’s good enough for the gals its good enough for the boys .. equality.. you don’t need to drink with them .. but don’t judge them.. who is the sinner..



de Cleene – It is not for criminal law..



de Cleene - tolerance and respect .. it was like Nuremberg.. mercy.. Pastor Sheldon telling us about abortion and homosexuals - extremism.. I do not want to come back as a lawyer and defend people minding their own goddamn business in their own goddamn house .. I intend to vote for this Bill..



Philip Burdon – sincere speakers.. I wish to disassociate myself from the contempt shown to the people that signed the petition.. it deserves responsible and concerned attention ..I wish to foreshadow my intention to introduce an amendment to raise the age of consent to twenty .. For purely medical reasons we think it is wrong to legalise sodomy for sixteen year olds [continues on 0215-B]