Media ID   0222-AB    

Parliamentary debate (6 November 1985) on the second reading of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill

Unique ID



Clive Matthewson, Dennis Marshall, Neil Austin, Norm Jones, Paul East

Related media

0220-A, 0223-AB


Source tape





6 November 1985







Recorded by


Barry Neels

Deposited by


Barry Neels


Parliamentary debate on the second reading spans 0213 – 0223, and 0206. 0221 has been misplaced


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.



Dennis Marshall [continued from 0221-AB, misplaced] – Wolfenden Report.. AIDS.. new dimension in society .. I would have preferred the House to have had a report on homosexuality.. I cannot support this Bill as it is .. to extreme



Neil Austin – I oppose this Bill.. I cannot find it in my makeup to support any aspect of this Bill.. letters of support.. personal decision made at the introduction of the Bill.. I am my own best friend and my own worst enemy.. I have to look at my image in the mirror.. It is to my regret that I cannot quote the scriptures at length.. I am sincere and well-meaning..



Austin – letters of support.. I have attended public meetings.. I am not prepared to be party to going below this imaginary line of moral conduct.. at these public meetings I have not once had threats or adverse comments.. I’m distressed to report that I’ve received one-or-two letters stating that if I lend my support to this legislation then possibly my political future in this Chamber could be in jeopardy.



Austin – an individual’s stand on a moral issue is a personal decision .. no criticism of Members taking polls etc.. I’ve had many letters of support from my own electorate.. there is one particular letter of support.. a survey from Kaikohe Union Parish Church .. I am not a particularly good church goer..



Austin – the petition.. only one person has asked to have their signature removed from the petition in my electorate.. 8,741 citizens of my electorate (Bay of Islands) signed the petition.. letters from the Maori people of Tai Tokerau



Austin - quoting letter: most Maori folk believe that if this Bill was passed it would negate most of the teachings we have learnt over the last one-hundred and fifty years.. if our ancestors who signed the Treaty of Waitangi realised that there would be legislation before this House lowering the moral standards.. many would not have signed the Treaty of Waitangi.. I oppose this Bill



Paul East – praising past speeches.. I voted for the introduction of this Bill.. this Parliament should consider this issue.. I sat on the Justice and Law Reform Committee.. having heard all of the evidence I believe there are grounds for decriminalizing homosexual acts.. however.. I will seriously consider voting for the amendment of decriminalisation at the age of twenty..



East – age of consent .. sixteen is too young.. I strongly disagree with the human rights provisions in this Bill.. New Zealand society is not in a position to accept this.. the legislation goes to far.. There is discrimination in other areas.. It means that the police, scouts, church schools will be required to accept into employment practising homosexuals..



East – this debate has seen extreme points of view on both sides of the argument.. Salvation Army members being abused and molested.. both sides have done their cause a grave disservice.. their actions have driven reasonable, sensible Members to think again.. I agree with 25% of the Bill .. I will be voting against the second reading of this Bill.. I object to how the Select Committee dealt with this legislation .. especially the sitting on Wednesday 2 October .. that was an affront to our democracy.. we denied those citizens, groups and organisations their democratic right.. thirty-four petitions were reported back without hearing any evidence.. The submissions were dealt with in a disgraceful way..



East – Select Committee.. they could not produce one valid reason why they should stop hearing evidence.. a gang that jacked the committee up .. you are supposed to consider all of the evidence.. the Committee then moved straight into deliberation without a time for consideration.. there were two Justice Department reports.. I would have liked to hear advice from the Human Rights Commission.. we were denied that opportunity.. half-way through this charade.. they ordered the press from the room.. it is only now that we have the opportunity to advise the House on the processes of this Select Committee..



Clive Matthewson – I see the issues as being those of tolerance versus judgement, role of the law, rationality versus fear, sexual equality.. those feelings came to ahead when I saw the presentation of the petition.. I found it offensive.. The boxes weren’t full.. what is the reason for being deceptive in that way.. The presenters of the petition have threatened the Members who vote in favour of this Bill with electoral defeat..



Matthewson – It is bad law if only 50% of the people agree with it.. the law on homosexuality should not be there..



Matthewson – quoting Justice Department submission .. recognizing individual freedom of choice.. criminal law and moral issues.. we must examine the arguments – against Christian values.. what is the Christian view.. homosexuality is curable – the evidence says this is not so.. homosexuality will cause break-up of the family .. that argument is hard to follow.. homosexuals are born into families.. should we criminalize celibacy.. will husbands all rush off and become homosexuals..



Matthewson – argument that homosexuals indulge in child abuse.. quoting a letter saying that hordes of homosexual gangs will be sodomizing innocent citizens.. age of consent around the world.. we are not doing something new, strange or radical.. South Australia has not yet had a single case of AIDS reported and they’ve had decriminalisation since 1976.. the fifth argument is the question of AIDS.. no correlation between the incidence of AIDS and the current law.. age-of-consent.. it is logical to have the same age as heterosexuality.. Part Two – personal freedom must sometimes be curtailed .. People who apply for a job have a right to be treated on the characteristics relevant to the job.. moral values.. who is more moral than who.. this Bill will pass



Norm Jones – Florida and AIDS.. 72,000 homosexuals from Cuba are in Florida.. I want to give notice of an Amendment that this Bill should lie on the table for twelve months.. the homosexual community thought that this Bill would get through this House in a few short weeks .. well here we are eight months later..



Jones – they didn’t anticipate the massive opposition to this Bill .. by the time this Bill gets through all of its stages .. this Bill will not pass in its present form.. I’ve been doing my counting .. 36 Members will vote against this at every stage.. sixteen years of age or nothing..



Jones – there’s been an international organised campaign amongst the homosexuals.. if you are criticising the petition.. the day this Bill passes.. the repeal referendum will start the very next day.. it won’t go away [continues on 0223-AB]