*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of
12th June 2006 Email to all
----- Original Message -----
To: each individual Queensland Member of Parliament
Subject: Qld's unequal age of consent still leaves youth at risk of HIV, self-harm and suicide
Dear (addressed to each individual Member of Parliament)
This is a brief reminder that the
Beattie Government, as per advice from the Premier and the Attorney-General,
still refuses to commit to reform of the unequal age of consent in
I value the positive responses which I have received in the recent past from various Members of Parliament (both Party members and Independents).
A truly equal age of consent is necessary in order to establish equality in the protection, health, support and acceptance of ALL youth - regardless of their gender or their sexuality. Loving parents must want ALL of their children to grow up feeling safe and in good health, so that they may have the best chance of forming loving, lasting relationships - as well as of fulfilling their destiny as valued family members and citizens.
The Beattie Government steadfastly refuses to enact an equal age of consent:
- despite specific advice by the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner
- despite advice by our Sexual Health Agencies that the current law exposes youth to increased risk of HIV
- despite written appeals by concerned parents
- despite a call for action by 740 signatories of a Parliamentary E-Petition
- and despite the fact that our state's Premier, Mr Peter Beattie, as chairman of the 1990 PCJC Report on Homosexual Law Reform, is on public record as personally supporting the majority Recommendation for a TRULY EQUAL age of consent.
Premier Peter Beattie and Attorney-General Linda Lavarch persist in offering, without qualification, the following inadequate statement as sole reason for their inaction: The issue of the age of consent is a vexed one and one in which there are deeply held and opposing views.
Both the Premier and the Attorney General have refused to explain their reasoning, and have refused repeated requests to meet with community representatives in order to discuss the need for an equal age of consent.
Queensland's unequal age of consent is contained in Sections 208 & 209 of the 1899 Criminal Code, which criminalises "sodomy" (anal sex) for anyone aged 16 and 17 - with a penalty of 14 years gaol for ANY offender (regardless of their gender or sexuality).
The law stops 16 and 17 year olds from getting vital safe sex information, and taints gay and bisexual youth in particular as potential criminals. The law impedes the self-esteem of same-sex attracted youth and thereby increases the likelihood of drug abuse, self-harm and suicide (currently four times the death rate of heterosexual Australian youth).
Mr Beattie took expert advice into consideration for his own 1990 recommendation that an unequal age of consent should NOT have been enacted in the first place. However the Goss Labor Government, for reasons which were not stated publicly, decided to ignore that Recommendation (#7) of the PCJC Report on Homosexual Law Reform when presenting the November 1990 Bill which "decriminalised" sex between men.
It is important to note that Hansard records NO Parliamentary debate has ever occurred in regard to an unequal age of consent.
There was no Parliamentary debate on this matter when an unequal age of consent was enacted as part of the November 1990 Bill, nor when Goss Labor included a truly equal age of consent in their 1995 Revised Criminal Code (which was repealed by the Borbidge National Party Government in 1996, just before its date of effect.)
Given the past Parliamentary disinterest in debating this issue, and in light of our more informed times, I believe that the majority of Queensland Parliamentarians must be in a position to allow the enactment of an equal age of consent.
inequity persists purely because of ignorance and fear. The ignorance
includes not giving the public due credit for their intelligence and
tolerance - and the fear includes undue concern over the potential loss of a
handful of votes, while failing to adequately protect many thousands
I urge your ongoing awareness of this issue, and ask that you lobby Mr Beattie directly for urgent action.
For the sake of
I thank you for your time, for your consideration and for your efforts toward effecting this reform.
Ph: 07 3350 1562 / local mobile: 0409 501 561
For full details of active lobbying, since early 2000, including all correspondence and legislative references, please visit my website: www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm