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Committee of the Whole House

Audio from parts of the Committee of the Whole House during the Homosexual Law Reform Bill, 20 November 1985 (part 1 of 2).

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A more detailed log of this recording is available on the LAGANZ website, see pages 0231-A and 0231-B.

  • 0:00:10 - Debate over whether the Bill should be considered part-by-part or clause-by-clause
  • 0:20:48 - Geoff Braybrooke   (Napier, Labour Party)
  • 0:26:15 - Venn Young   (Waitotara, National Party)
  • 0:30:10 - Graeme Lee   (Hauraki, National Party)
  • 0:37:42 - Richard Prebble   (Auckland Central, Labour Party)
  • 0:44:30 - [cassette ends; recording stops abruptly]
  • 0:47:56 - John Banks   (Whangarei, National Party)
  • 0:53:06 - Whetu Tirikatene Sullivan   (Southern Maori, Labour Party)
  • 0:59:20 - Philip Woollaston   (Nelson, Labour Party)
  • 1:04:06 - Norman Jones   (Invercargill, National Party)
  • 1:11:04 - Geoff Braybrooke   (Napier, Labour Party)
  • 1:15:47 - Peter Tapsell   (Eastern Maori, Labour Party)
  • 1:16:53 - Norman Jones   (Invercargill, National Party)
  • 1:27:00 - Helen Clark   (Mt Albert, Labour Party)

This audio is supplied courtesy of the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand.


The audio recording from the Committee of the Whole House on the Homosexual Law Reform Bill on November 20, 1985, partakes a detailed and intense debate about the structure and implications of the legislation. Members of the New Zealand Parliament, including Geoff Braybrooke, Graeme Lee, Helen Clark, John Banks, Norman Jones, Peter Tapsell, Philip Woollaston, Richard Prebble, Venn Young, and Whetu Tirikatene Sullivan, among others, voice their positions and raise concerns regarding various aspects of the bill.

Key points of contention revolve around the manner in which the bill should be considered – part by part or as a whole. Discussions also focus on amendments proposed by members, with a notable one being from Geoff Braybrooke. Braybrooke suggests that the bill should not progress without the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to fully investigate all facets of homosexuality in New Zealand. They further advocate for the necessity of a national referendum to achieve public consensus on the matter. This amendment implies that the members of Parliament may not possess the full breadth of knowledge required to accurately judge such a morally weighted issue.

The debate reaches into the specific details and implications of the bill, including the decriminalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults. Certain members express fears that legalizing sodomy for individuals as young as 16 years could lead to moral degradation and undermine the integrity of the family unit. There are also predictions that it would attract foreign individuals seeking a "safe sodomy" environment, thus turning New Zealand into a haven for sex tourism.

The question of the age of consent emerges as a significant controversy. Some members argue that the bill's reduction of the legal age of consensual homosexual activity to 16 years could place younger individuals at risk, asserting the bill fails to protect children from the potential advancement of older individuals.

Helen Clark, among other members, counters the criticism of the bill, emphasizing the distinction between personal biases and the law. Clark refutes the validity of the concerns raised regarding sex tourism and challenges the practicality and intent behind the proposition of a royal commission.

Concern is also raised over potential discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation, with arguments supporting the inclusion of such protections within the realm of the Human Rights Commission Act. This stance is fueled by the belief that one's sexual orientation, similar to race and gender, cannot be altered, thus warranting legal protection from discrimination.

Throughout the debate, there is a recurring assertion that the bill should not be altered or manipulated to reflect the personal convictions of individual members but rather based on objective legal principles. The discussion concludes with the committee deciding upon a division, summoning all members to vote on the instructed bill's treatment in parts.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Tags (computer generated)

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Record date:20th November 1985
Audio courtesy of:Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand (LAGANZ)
Location:Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
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