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Tuesday, 14 May 2002
Page: 1506

Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice, on 21 March 2002:

With reference to homosexuality: What is `conservative tolerance' and how does it differ from plain tolerance.

Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The meaning of `conservative tolerance' is clear from the context of my remarks, which were in response to a question put during an interview with Mr John Laws on 15 March 2002. The relevant extract from the interview is as follows:

“I regard myself as having a tolerant but conservative view about homosexuality. I don't think somebody's homosexuality should disqualify them from a position on the High Court, I don't think it should disqualify them from holding any position. That is not my view. Some people sort of have stereotypes of me. I'm a person who I think has a, can I put it this way, conservatively tolerant view of that. I certainly don't seek and I don't think anybody can find instances in my life where I have in any way discriminated against a person on the grounds of their homosexuality. That doesn't mean to say that I publicly endorse, like a lot of other politicians do, the gay mardi gras. I have other reasons for not doing that, but that's a separate matter. I mean, I think if Mr Walker was implying a sinister intent on the part of the Government then he's wrong and I repudiate that and I don't... I won't accept that there's been any intolerance displayed towards homosexuality.”