Campaign for Age Of Consent awareness & removal of The Sodomy Law in Queensland

*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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25th August 2004 Email to all members of Queensland Parliament, (except Premier Peter Beattie and Attorney General Rod Welford – who are both aware of this issue). I beg support for reform, pointing out that the Sodomy Law actively places 16 and 17 year old men and women at risk of HIV/AIDS by obstructing safe-sex information.  I also point out that the 1990 PCJC Report clearly recommended against a Sodomy Law specifically because this would be expected to happen. Recent evidence shows that up to 4 % of all 16-19 year old Australian men and women choose to engage in anal intercourse (for various reasons).


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

From: John Frame

To: members of Queensland Parliament (sent as individual emails)

Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 12:09 PM

Subject: urgent Qld law reform re youth health

 

Dear ________

 

I am writing to beg your support for urgent reform of Queensland Criminal Law so that all our

State's youth are given adequate access to vital information to protect their health from HIV/AIDS.

 

A particularly high risk exists for 16 and 17 year old men and women because the current Criminal Law directly obstructs vital safe-sex information and education which could prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS.

 

Queensland Criminal Law must be reformed urgently to stop the ongoing life-threatening risks to which we are exposing all of our 16 and 17 year old men and women - regardless of whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.

 

HIV/AIDS does not discriminate, but Queensland's Criminal law definitely does - it discriminates actively against all youth aged 16 and 17 by threatening their health.

 

Peter Beattie chaired the Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee in 1990 which reported in favour of decriminalising male-to-male sexual activity. The Committee reported that it accepted the evidence from esteemed experts that setting a higher minimum age for the sexual activity of anal intercourse would have no effect on reducing the incidence of that activity, but would definitely impede HIV/AIDS safe-sex information.

 

The PCJC Report's Recommendation 7 was:

“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.)”

 

In November 1990 Parliament ignored the Commission's recommendation and set a higher minimum age for anal intercourse - effectively 18 years, instead of 16 for any other sexual activity. Anal intercourse is a Criminal Activity for 16 and 17 year old Queenslanders - with a maximum penalty of 14 years gaol.

 

Consequently it's no wonder that all of our family support and education services,  and health-care providers feel that they cannot provide information or support regarding such a clearly criminal activity.

 

"Unprotected" anal intercourse - that is without the proper use of condoms and suitable lubricant - is a very high risk activity for the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Proper use of condoms and lubricant make the activity extremely safe for HIV as well as for other sexually transmitted infections.

 

You should know that anal intercourse is NOT an exclusively homosexual activity. It is practiced by up to 4% of ALL 16 to 19 year old women and men (as advised by Dr Lynne Hillier of La Trobe University, Melbourne). Heterosexual women and men may choose anal intercourse because it presents no risk of unwanted pregnancy and because it also leaves the hymen intact (thereby retaining apparent virginity).   

 

On page 78 of the 1990 PCJC Report, Chairman Mr Peter Beattie stated:

 

“As the father of three young children I am determined to do everything in my power to ensure that by the time my children reach their teenage years everything is done over the years to wipe out AIDS.”

 

However the main thing that has not been done to wipe out AIDS in the last 14 years, and which directly affects all Queensland teenagers, is the reform of the Sodomy Law.

 

Queensland is the only State or Territory in Australia which maintains a "Sodomy Law" (Sections 208 & 209 of the Queensland Criminal Code 1899). In each of the other States and Territories the age of consent is truly equal for men and women - consequently they have equal access to support services and to vital safe-sex information.

 

For the sake of all current and future 16 and 17 year old male and female youth in Queensland I urge you to encourage and support Attorney General Mr. Welford toward swift reform.

 

Full details of my efforts to encourage this reform, since February 2000, are included on my website http://www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm . That site includes details of all legal references, links to relevant documents, law reform history, community support and correspondence.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

John Frame
presenter of Queer Radio www.queerradio.org
on community radio 4ZZZ fm102.1
Brisbane.
Post:
82 Main Avenue, Wavell Heights 4012 QLD.
Ph: 07 3350 1562 / 0409 501 561
more details: www.queerradio.org/JohnFrame.html

 

-----"There is no substitute for equality"-----