Brown admits to almost making 'lesbian activity illegal'
Former Greens Leader Bob Brown admitted to almost making lesbian activity illegal and called on the Prime Minister to consider her position on same-sex marriage during his final National Press Club address.
During the speech Brown looked back over his time whilst the sole Green in the Tasmanian Government and said that in 1986, during an attempt to make the state’s criminal code gender neutral, he made the biggest mistake of his career.
“It got to section 1:22 which proscribed male homosexuality and I was expecting the Labor Party and Opposition would get rid of this section but they didn't," he said.
"And so very nervously I moved that it also be made gender neutral and thereby made lesbian activity illegal as well and the House immediately passed it and it was headed for the Upper House.
"I was internally haemorrhaging for two days."
The amendments put forward by Brown almost passed into law but was prevented by the then Premier Joh Bjelke-Peterson.
"[He] had been asked whether he'd move to extend the law in Queensland to proscribe female homosexuality and he said 'Oh goodness, goodness, goodness no, no of course I wouldn't'," Brown said.
"And this was in the press. So I sent that attached to a little note; and remember Bob Brown made this amendment, to the members of the Upper House who duly voted down this innovation that I'd sent to the Upper House and saved my skin.
"So I am grateful to Joh for that."
Brown also told the National Press Club that during the recent dinner with the Prime Minister and their partners, Paul Thomas and Tim Mathieson, he asked her to reassess her position on same-sex marriage.
''Paul did raise the issue of same-sex marriage and very cogently put the case for it,” he said.
Brown said the Prime Minister did listen but restated her “public point of view” on marriage equality.
The Senator added that the Prime Minister should not fear the vocal conservative parts of society and that it would please “many Australians” while leaving “Tony Abbott out on a limb”.
Brown’s resignation from the Senate comes into effect on June 15 when he will be replaced by Peter Whish-Wilson.