*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of Queensland, Australia - A campaign to remove our Sodomy Law (which was enacted in 1990).

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20th  June 2008 Email to all Queensland Members of Parliament, as well as to the Courier Mail and other media. I highlight that the Bligh Government flatly refuses to justify why it is delaying equal age of consent reform. I remind the Members that an unequal age of consent should never have been passed in the first place back in 1990 by the Goss Labor Government. I point out the extremely homophobic statement made in the 1990 PCJC Report by the National and Liberal Committee Members (calling for it to be a crime to even say that it was OK to be gay) and I suggest that the attitudes of Members of Parliament ought to have progressed significantly in keeping with the general public. Finally I call for all-party support for urgent reform.

 


 

 

----- Original Message -----

From: John Frame

To: (sent as individual emails to each Queensland Member of Parliament)

Sent: Friday, June 20, 2008 2:08 PM

Subject: Important Queensland Age Of Consent update

 

 

To: (Member of Parliament's name and Electorate)

 

Dear ____,

 

Regarding the ongoing harm caused by Queensland Government inaction on Equal Age Of Consent Reform: 

 

In June 2007 I posted to every Member of Parliament a DVD-Video/CD-ROM information pack which included a clear statement by Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth that Queensland's Criminal Code unjustly discriminates against same sex attracted youth by setting an unequal age of consent for sexual activity. The Commissioner stated that the law needed to be reformed urgently to allow a truly equal age of consent.

 

For five years Queensland has been the only Australian state or territory which does not allow youth the vital protection, support and equity which is inherent in a truly equal age of consent. However Premier Anna Bligh and Attorney-General Kerry Shine both persist in refusing to commit to bringing Queensland law into line with the rest of Australia in regard to the equitable treatment and protection of youth. They also refuse to offer any reasoning for leaving our state's youth at unnecessarily increased risk of abuse, depression, self-harm, suicide and HIV infection - all factors which are a direct result of denying true equity in law to those youth who are same sex attracted.  

 

This is a particularly shameful matter of fact for the Queensland Labor Party:

 

Goss Labor deliberately failed to get the law right in November 1990. They should have introduced a Bill which followed all nine majority recommendations made in the all party October 1990 Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee (PCJC) "Report on Reforms in Laws Relating to Homosexuality". However a back-room decision was made to ignore the Report's "Recommendation 7" - which had declared, in no uncertain terms, that a truly equal age of consent was necessary.

 

Below I have "cut and pasted" Recommendation 7 from page 49 of the PCJC Report No 2 of 1990 "Reforms in Laws Relating to Homosexuality - An Information Paper”:

       (see full Report copy stored at http://www.queerradio.org/PCJC_law_reform_report_October_1990.pdf)

 

RECOMMENDATION 7.

 

THE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT THE AGE OF CONSENT FOR

HOMOSEXUAL ACTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF SEXUAL

EQUALITY AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BE THE SAME FOR MALES AS IT IS

FOR FEMALES, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER THE SEXUAL ACT IS

HETEROSEXUAL OR HOMOSEXUAL. (THIS PRINCIPLE IS HIGHLIGHTED IN

POINT ONE ON PAGE 60 OF THE COMMISSION’S REPORT.)

  • The "Commission" referred to in this paragraph is the Criminal Justice Commission which was set up following the Fitzgerald Inquiry. Homosexuals were victims of blackmail and of police harassment during the Bjelke-Petersen era. "Decriminalisation" of sex between men was also a vital factor in the fight against HIV/AIDS transmission because it removed a major legal disincentive for HIV testing, and also allowed efficient delivery of life-saving safe sex information - both are key reasons why the age of consent ought to have been made truly equal at 16, as per the PCJC's Recommendation.  

The PCJC Chairman was Mr. Peter Beattie and on page 72 of the Report he wrote "It therefore goes without saying that I am in full support of almost all aspects of this Report and certainly the first eight recommendations. Those recommendations are the majority recommendations of the Committee." Despite this 1990 declaration of support for an equal age of consent, Mr. Beattie flatly refused to act on this law reform during his long term as Premier.  

Community attitudes have progressed and the Criminal Code needs to catch up urgently: 

In the 1990 PCJC Report (pages 64 to 69), the National and Liberal Committee Members (Mssrs. Bill Gunn, Neville Harper and Santo Santoro) all signed a dissenting statement opposing decriminalisation of sex between men and calling for the Criminal Code to be amended so that "any person" could be imprisoned for one year merely for saying that homosexuality was acceptable. They wanted an extra year of imprisonment if the offending statement was made at a school, a College of Advance Education or a University. That would have meant that a loving parent could be imprisoned simply for telling their son or daughter that it was OK to be gay - and that a school counsellor could be imprisoned for two years for having the compassion to honestly support a same sex attracted student.

Thankfully attitudes within the majority of the general public have matured significantly since 1990, along with their knowledge and awareness that same sex attraction is nothing at all to be feared - and that homosexuality is an innate and natural factor for a very significant proportion of human beings, just as it is in the rest of nature.

I must expect that the attitudes of the majority of our Members of Parliament have progressed in keeping with the general public and that the majority of them would honestly believe, in their hearts and minds, that their "same sex attracted" and "opposite sex attracted" children, family members, friends and workmates are all equally worthy of acceptance, support, love, respect and legal equity. 

Conclusion:

I urge the Bligh Government to seek the cooperation of compassionate Independent and Opposition Members in acting as swiftly as possible to bring Queensland into line with the rest of Australia in allowing equal support and protection for all youth through the enactment of a truly equal age of consent at 16 (which is the current age for legal "heterosexual" activity).

I welcome your action and response.

Yours faithfully,

 

John Frame
jvframe@ozemail.com.au
www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm
Ph: 07 3350 1562 / mobile: 0409 501 561
Post: 82 Main Avenue, Wavell Heights 4012, QLD, Australia.
 
----"There is no substitute for equality"----