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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From the website of Queer Radio, the gay & lesbian Community Radio program on 4ZZZ fm102.1 in Brisbane, Australia. File and website maintained by former Queer Radio presenter & coordinator John Frame.

a brief story of the campaign so far... A brief story of this campaign…

This comprehensive file records all of my efforts, since February 2000, in attempting to get the Queensland Government to either reform Queensland law to a true equal age of consent of 16 (as their own Committee recommended in 1990) or to at least properly inform its public about the correct interpretation of Age Of Consent in relation to lawful sexual activity. Queensland is in fact the only State or Territory in Australia which has a "sodomy law" – a law which restricts the activity of "unlawful sodomy" (anal intercourse) to only those aged 18 and over. Severe penalties of 14 years gaol apply to "unlawful sodomy" (anal intercourse) involving any person (male or female) under 18 years of age.

Nowhere else in Australia is there a law which discriminates on the basis of consenting sexual activity - the Age Of Consent is TRULY equal for men and women at 17 in South Australia and Tasmania, and at 16 in New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria, Canberra and the Northern Territory.

Around the world "sodomy" is a legal term which has been used to mean various sexual activities - sometimes all sex that is not "penis in vagina" sex (even for heterosexuals). Some USA states used their sodomy laws to specifically ban all sex between men. Following decades of intensive lobbying by human rights activists, all USA sodomy laws were struck down in a landmark decision by their Supreme Court on 26th June 2003.

The Queensland Attorney General advises that our sodomy law applies only to "a penis entering an anus". Therefore there is no doubt that the Queensland sodomy law actively discriminates purely on the basis of private consenting behaviour, which is the same reason that the USA sodomy laws were declared invalid. Queensland’s Sodomy Law should be struck down immediately.

Since early 2000, I have made every effort to lobby the Beattie Government directly, to garner LGBT community support, to raise the profile of this issue in LGBT media and to get mainstream media to present the issue to the public. So far the only mainstream media coverage has come from national youth radio TripleJ (Steve Cannane’s The Hack, 14th Feb ’05) and local ABC Radio612 (Steve Austin, 20th June ’05). Alternative media in the form of Brisbane's local Community Television Bris31’s "Tamara Tonite" has been extremely helpful, as have LGBT street press Queensland Pride and Q-News. A good article was printed a few years ago by Quest Newspapers in The Northside Chronicle.

On 5th January 2004 I emailed each individual Member of Parliament in Queensland, giving them concise details of how the Sodomy Law negatively impacts on youth and asking for their support in removing the law. Subsequent emails have been sent to all MP’s with updated information (on 25th August 2004, 2nd June 2005  , 19th January 2006 and 12th June 2006).

On the eve of Valentine’s Day 2005 (13th February 2005) a picnic gathering in New Farm Park “was promoted as a “Love In For Love Equality” in order to publicly promote the need for reform. Youth from as far away as Toowoomba attended the event.

In January 2005 a Queensland Parliamentary E-Petition went online seeking support for an equal age of consent through Sodomy Law Reform. It closed on 31st July 2005 with 740 signatories. The Attorney-General has not yet responded to that petition.

On 15th July 2005 Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth wrote to the Attorney-General and to the Premier stating her official opinion that the Sodomy Law must be reformed urgently. Unfortunately the Commission is not chartered to enforce action on State law.

On 14th July 2005 Brisbane Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays wrote to the Attorney-General and the Premier asking for urgent reform.

In Mid-October 2005 a letter co-signed by over twenty eminent community organizations and groups was sent to the Attorney General, the Premier and to the Ministers for Heath, Child Safety and Education.

On 3rd February 2010 the Hon Michael D. Kirby AC CMG, retired Justice of the High Court of Australia, issued a strong statement of support for equal age of consent reform.

On 20th August 2015 news broke that the Palaszczuk Labor Government were funding an expert committee to report to Parliament regarding equal age of consent reform.

On 25th May 2016 Health Minister Cameron Dick announced that a Bill would be introduced to equalise the age of consent at 16 to ensure maximum delivery of safe sex information to youth.

Queer Radio homepage Last updated 25th May 2016