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Thursday, 18 October 1973
Page: 2331

Sir JOHN CRAMER (Bennelong11.27) - I am opposed to this motion. I oppose it principally on the ground that I believe it will open the door to social recognition of homosexuality as a normal way of life. I cannot accept that proposition and I do not think the Australian people want to accept it. I am surprised that a motion of this sort has been introduced into this House. I cannot understand what motivated the moving of this motion.

Mr Gorton - We just spent 20 minutes trying to tell you.

Sir JOHN CRAMER - One wonders what motivated the moving of this motion and also whether an ex-Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton), could not think of more important matters to discuss. To me it is rather significant and extraordinary that this motion has been seconded by the Minister for the Environment and Conservation (Dr Cass) in the atmosphere which exists in the community today because I do not know of any subject that tends more to mora] pollution than homosexuality. It is true, of course, that homosexuality exists. I do not know much about it. I believe it is completely distasteful to the average man and woman in this country who I think would prefer to have nothing to do with it. But as I said, homosexuality does exist. We can feel sympathy for these people because they are unable to control themselves. No one can deny that homosexuality is a twist in normality. It is unforunate that there are many twists in normality in our community. Very often the actions of the people who are so affected are very unacceptable to society as a whole. I refer, for instance, to kleptomania - the urge to steal. These people cannot control themselves. But their actions are an offence and are punishable by law. It is a criminal offence. Drunkenness is an offence. Drug addition which some people cannot avoid is an offence also. Violence in many ways and in many aspects, although some people cannot help performing violent acts, is an offence. Prostitution is an offence in many countries. One could go on. These are all twists to normality. But there is no reason why society should have to accept them as the normal way of life.

It must be admitted that this is predominantly a Christian society. The right honourable member for Higgins mentioned the question of the Church. The Christian churches fundamentally are opposed to homosexuality which always has been an offence against normality. The Bible makes that perfectly clear. One need quote only from a report which is currently being examined by the Church of England Synod. An article on the report states:

The report warns that 'gay liberation' and similar movements attack society in a fundamental way. That was real and not imagined.

Previously society asked the homosexual to change his ways, now the homosexual demands that society change . . . to suit the homosexual. The article continues:

The significance of this change could not be clearer, the report says.

This is why the Committee wants legal sanctions against overt homosexuality to remain.

That is the view of the Church of England. I have not time to quote views from other churches.

It is quite true that in recent years as we are aware there has been a drift to a permissive society. This has encouraged the homosexual to come out into the open. He now demands not only the passing of a resolution such as this but official recognition by society. If this resolution is passed and its terms put into effect, the activities of homosexuals in certain respects will be made legal. It certainly suggests that they should be made legal. But the homosexuals do not want to stop at recognition. They want homosexuality to be accepted by society as a normal way of life. I cannot accept, and I do not believe that people will accept, that kind of approach. To legalise is to give the green light to promote, publicise and encourage homosexuality in all its forms. There are many people, I believe, who can be saved from this distorted way of life. It is a distorted way of life and it should be branded for what it is. Young people must be protected from being persuaded to drift into this obnoxious habit. I refuse to believe that many people who practise homosexuality could not refrain from doing so; they should be encouraged to refrain from these activities.

I do not want to take up too much time because I know that others wish to speak in this debate. But I have a letter with me. It came to me 2 or 3 days ago when I presented a petition to this House. It is so significant that I wish to read it. It is from a constituent. It deals with a petition in another matter. I will not refer to that now. A number of petitions of the type mentioned have been presented in the last few days. My constituent states:

This letter and the enclosed petition is to protest against the increasing decline in the moral standards of our community.

I think that everybody accepts that this is so. The letter continues:

A society in which sex-shops, pornographic literature and films, homosexuality, drug indulgence, sexual permissiveness and similar evils are encouraged, will decay and destroy itself.

We have a Government-

I am not making this a Government matter but my constituent says this in her letter: . . actually legislating to permit such things and at the same time religious education is being limited or eliminated and our children are being taught that even right and wrong are only relative.

This is ridiculous.

How can a generation flower into decent manhood or womanhood with such teachings?

TV could be a power for good, now it is being used to propagate all that is worst in human nature. Our children are subjected to the constant glorification of sex whilst only pitying sneers are given to the age-old ideals of integrity, national pride and self-sacrifice!

The great majority of Australians--

And this is absolutely true -

Don't want to see magazine racks full of filth and pornography!

Don't want to see films degrading womanhood, motherhood and marriage!

Don't want to see our children exposed to drugs, sex, homosexuality and violence!

We want a stable community, based on sound Christian ethics in which decency, truth, law and order are exalted and sordid filth relegated to the gutters where it belongs.

It's time the Government took some responsibility for the decline in moral standards in Australia.

It's time for the Government to act to save our young people from themselves and from those who exploit them.

Keep on the way we are going and you can wrap Australia up in a neat little package and hand it over as a gift to our enemies . . .

I endorse every word that my constituent has written.

Mr Cohen - Next year we will have Federation.

Sir JOHN CRAMER - It is all very well to laugh the thing off, but it is a serious matter. It seems to me that if the Government acted in accordance with the motion which has been moved by the right honourable member for Higgins, it would bring down on Australia a further advance of the permissive society that is so destroying the fabric of the moral rectitude of the Australian people. I think this is a terrible thing. I cannot understand any decent man or woman opening the door wider to these kinds of things. Therefore, I violently oppose the motion. I sincerely hope that the common sense and decency of honourable members in this House will prevail and that we will reject this motion, and indeed reject an amendment which has been foreshadowed. I do not believe that we should go any further in interfering with the law as it stands at the present time. I hope that this House will reject the motion and not open the door to depravity as a way of life.

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