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"Member’s bills matter," Chauvel says in farewell

Thu 28 Feb 2013 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Departing Rainbow Labour MP Charles Chauvel has highlighted the important role of member’s bills in New Zealand’s Parliament, pointing to the repeal of the provocation defence and marriage equality legislation as two examples of how they can pave the way to justice and equality. He has farewelled Parliament, as he heads to a position with the United Nations in New York, advising on Parliamentary Development and Democratic Governance. In his valedictory speech the stalwart advocate for the glbti community paid tribute to Labour colleague Lianne Dalziel, for whom he drafted a bill wiping the provocation or ‘gay panic defence’ from the law. “That doctrine gave license for the murder of defenceless victims, too many of them gay men,” he told Parliament. “It needed to be scrubbed from the statute book and it was finally repealed in 2009 after the defence sought to invoke it in the Weatherston trial. “The Government’s method of appeal was the substantial adoption of Lianne Dalziel’s Bill,” he said. “As MPs over the years, including my friends Jonathan Hunt, Fran Wilde, Katherine Rich and Lynne Pillay have demonstrated, member’s bills matter. More so in this MMP Parliament.” Chauvel then mentioned the marriage equality bill of his colleague Louisa Wall, which is back for the second reading next month. He said when he sat on the meetings of the select committee hearing feedback on the bill he was incredibly impressed by the overwhelming support for the measure, and the “respectful way” submitters were heard by the committee. “Members supported the Bill by an overwhelming majority when it was read a first time last year. I sincerely hope that will happen again at second and subsequent readings. “David and I have been partners for 13 years and we had the privilege of getting married in January 2008 – we just had to go to Canada to do it. Our laws should no longer deny all New Zealanders the fundamental human right to marry and found a family here.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 28th February 2013 - 11:51am

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