Minister denies support for polygamy

The Press 13 August 2008

Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson says the Government has no plans to recognise multi-partner relationships, despite speech notes in her name suggesting it was moving to recognise “triples”. The speech, which was removed from the Government’s Beehive website last Friday after inquiries by Investigate magazine, was listed as being delivered by Dyson at Victoria University on May 6. The speech notes say that the Government is moving the focus of its policy delivery from social welfare to social development, including recognising communities within the population that do not meet the definition of a traditional family group. “We must cater for diversity; we know it exists. By this I mean the range of relationships from single, couples, triples, blended, de facto, and so on. That’s where we’re going with social policy,” the speech notes say.

Dyson said yesterday that she did not deliver the speech and had “no idea” what the term “triples” referred to. The speech should never have been posted on the Government’s website, she said. Asked what the Government’s policy on polygamous relationships was, Dyson said: “The social security legislation is very clear about what a relationship is you’re either single or a couple. A couple is in the nature of marriage, which includes civil union and de facto. “It’s been the same for years. It’s been tested in court. There’s no interest in changing it.”