The levels of homophobia within Queensland’s Bjelke-Petersen government in the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic have been revealed with the releasing of 1985 cabinet records.
First coming to light in the Brisbane Times, the 30 year old records show that despite health authorities advising them otherwise, senior figures in the Queensland Government would not even want the public to use a pool that a gay person had swam in.
Commenting on a situation in New South Wales where a religious school had refused to allow its students to swim in a pool after it had recently hosted a Mardi Gras event, the then welfare, youth and ethnic affairs minister, Geoff Muntz made his thoughts particularly clear.
“As a parent, I would have strong reservations about letting young people compete in a pool that was used for such a sick event as a gay swimming carnival,” Mauntz told the Cabinet meeting.
“It seems these people who promote such an immoral, unnatural and deviant lifestyle are turning up everywhere in New South Wales…You’ll never hear of a gay mardi gras or gay swimming carnival in Queensland.”
Thankfully history has shown that Muntz was wrong. Very wrong!
As it turned out, Queensland now enjoys fabulous LGBTI festivals in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Cairns, and Rockhampton, as well as smaller gay events in other regional centres across the state.
Additionally, Queensland has not only hosted many gay swimming carnivals but is also home to a permanent LGBT swim squad Aqualicious. Competing against other masters swimming squads across the state, Aqualicious have won many major racing meets including a number of state championships!
And as for Geoff Muntz, the man who described homsexuals as “immoral”…. Well his own morality, and that of his colleagues, was exposed during the Fitzgerald Inquiry. In1991, Muntz was found guilty of misappropriating ministerial expenses and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.