*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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30th November 2007 Email to Premier Anna Bligh re her ABC Radio 612 dismissal, earlier this day, of my own question on the issue of Equal Age Of Consent Reform. On the eve of World AIDS Day, I particularly wanted The Premier to address the fact that the current law actively impedes adequate relevant safe sex education for 16 and 17 year olds. Sadly ABC presenter Madonna King allowed The Premier to get away with an answer which was pure obfuscation.

 

Listen to the question and response here as an mp3 ( 570k, 1m 40s). Please note: Madonna King did her level best to sabotage my question. On 26 October 2007 I had spoken off-air only with her show’s producer and I was advised that they do not allow more than one question to the Premier on any one topic – and that my only option would be to phone back on 30 November and take my chances with every other caller at getting to put my question to the Premier.

 

I had asked:

"Regarding the fact that Queensland, since 2003, it's been the only state or territory Australia which has an unequal age of consent and that leaves Queensland's 16 and 17 year olds in a situation where they're not getting adequate relevant safe sex education, why is the Queensland Government not willing to change the law so that Queensland 16 and 17 year olds are treated with equal protection, equal support - especially regarding HIV infection - as is every other youth around Australia?"

 

NB: I had clearly stated that 16 and 17 year old youth were not getting “adequate relevant” safe sex education – I did not say that the current law blocks all safe sex education. It seems clear from the experience of both Peter R. On 26 October 2007 and myself on this day, that Premier Bligh cannot be expected to give a straight answer to any question on this issue.

 

 

 

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

From: John Frame

To: ThePremier@premiers.qld.gov.au

Cc: Attorney@ministerial.qld.gov.au

Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 3:10 PM

Subject: Premier Bligh on Madonna King show 30th Nov '07

 

To Premier Anna Bligh

C.c. to Attorney-General Kerry Shine (re Qld Criminal Law in need of reform)

 

Dear Ms Bligh,

 

Today I asked you the following question on the Madonna King Show on ABC612 local radio:

 

"Regarding the fact that Queensland, since 2003, it's been the only state or territory Australia which has an unequal age of consent and that leaves Queensland's 16 and 17 year olds in a situation where they're not getting adequate relevant safe sex education, why is the Queensland Government not willing to change the law so that Queensland 16 and 17 year olds are treated with equal protection, equal support - especially regarding HIV infection - as is every other youth around Australia?"

 

I wasn't given the opportunity to ask for further details on air, but I believe that you failed to address the question of why Queensland youth are allowed to continue to be treated in an inferior manner to other Australian youth.

 

Also in your response you expressed your personal opinion that you believe that youth are already getting enough safe sex support in schools. While that may be true for a minority of youth - perhaps heterosexual youth attending enlightened private schools - it needs to be made true for all students.

 

The current Criminal Law defines anal intercourse as an extreme criminal activity for 16 and 17 year olds, punishable by up to 14 years gaol - with "consent" being considered irrelevant in the courts. The impact of that criminality is that there is virtually no mention in school based sex-ed or relationships classes of this sexual activity - let alone mention of safe sexual practice in that regard.

 

La Trobe University research estimates that 20% of ALL youth (whether straight or gay) choose to engage in anal intercourse. That means that tens of thousands of Queensland youth are being exposed to high risk of HIV and other STI's without adequate safe sex education, directly as a result of the Government's ongoing inaction on equal age of consent reform. 

 

The current law also directly affects the level of expressed acceptance and inclusion of same sex attracted youth in relationships education, as well as in sex education. I bet that you would struggle to find same sex attracted Queensland youths who found any level (let alone an adequate level) of inclusion during relationships/sex education classes in their high school years.

 

It is of utmost importance that ALL youth be adequately supported and protected under the law. They need to be equal under the law, first and foremost, in order to expect to be treated equally by family, friends and society. Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner has advised your Government in July 2005 that this reform is urgently required.

 

How does your Government justify leaving young lives at risk of HIV, as well as abuse, self-harm, depression and suicide? What do you stand to lose by reforming this law - a law which, based on a Fitzgerald Report recommendation, should never have even been passed in 1990.   

 

I welcome your response or query.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

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