Marilyn Waring - Rainbow Voices of Aotearoa New Zealand

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[00:00:00] In 1974, then Yang, who was an opposition Member of Parliament, was going to introduce a homosexual law reform bill. The Prime Minister at the time, Norman cook said he couldn't support it because he couldn't support anything. That wasn't normal behavior. I read that headline of the Dominion in the Victoria University Library in the demand is in the dominion. And I got up from the table and I walked straight down to Lampton key and join the National Party. [00:00:38] I then [00:00:41] subsequently, I was offered a job in the opposition research unit. That was national and opposition between 1972 and 1975. One of my colleagues, there was a gay man called Robin Stewart and Robin wrote the National Party justice policy for the 1975 election. And that included the commitment to the Human Rights Act. At the time while I was in Parliament from 75 to 84, we were never able to expand the grounds to include sexual orientation that came later. And that was feared by my successor in sits in the seat of wiper kits for know Reagan in 1976, when I was 23 years old, and a backbench member of the National Government, I was outed, by truth newspaper, who ran the story for something like six weeks. I expected, frankly to be run out of town. The response from New Zealanders was extraordinary. absolutely extraordinary. They were so angry that this had been picked on that a young woman had been picked on at a context where prior to this pretty much in peace Private Lives had no space or place in this kind of public announcement. When the newspaper published I was called to the Prime Minister's office and moulding said to me, we've shut the whole party down. There will be no statement from any party official in any part of the country. You are to remain silent. I will remain silent. If you don't talk and I don't talk. The story will go away. Any question about your remaining a member of parliament will be in the hands of the National Party Your constituency in 1977, there was a change of boundaries, my constituency of Raglan disappeared entirely. And no majority part of Raglan went to any of the new electorates. So I was invited to stand for the wiper electorate at included about 40% of my old constituency. And of course, I was challenged by three men who described themselves or as upright family Christian mean. I defeated them on the first ballot. So it was fairly obvious that even the rural conservative area of wiper had no complaints about my work and very little judgment about my life in 78 to 81 I was the only woman in the National Party caucus from 75 to 1980 when I was the woman Member of Parliament from the North Island. I left or I announced that I was resigning in March 1984. And subsequently, a newly election was called by the Prime Minister, which was a very good idea. And yes, I played a part in it. Fortunately, Catherine O'Regan, who had been my electoral agent, none of them were paid for in those days, those of us who had research offices or electoral agents were paying them out of our salaries. And Catherine worked for me for all of that period. In 1977, she'd become the first woman elected to the wiper county council and the 1983 when I told her I was going to retire I said, you know, I'm letting you know really early in case you'd like to run for it. And she did. And she won. What that meant when she came into parliament, though, and especially when she became the Associate Minister of Health, and particularly [00:05:22] worried about transmission of diseases. It's meant that when the government introduced an amendment to the Human Rights Commission Act, she did something really extraordinary. As a minister. In that government, she moved an amendment to expand the grounds of discrimination to include sexual orientation and those who was suffering from a IV and AIDS and other transmittable notifiable diseases. And she would have had no issues whatsoever, and WIPA in doing that. So it seemed unusual for someone coming from what was seen as a provincial rural constituency to advocate in those areas, but she was always supported and very proud of that work.

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