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On Thursday 15th September 2016 the Government of Queensland, in a demonstration of true bipartisanship in support of the state’s youth, voted 72 to 2 in favour of the “Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016”. The 72 “ayes” comprised all the Labor MP’s, the 2 Independents, and a majority of the LNP. The 2 “no” votes were from the Katter Party MP’s. The Bill included an amendment to the 1899 Criminal Code to enact a truly equal age of consent at 16 (for any gender or sexual activity), and to replace the derogatory term “Sodomy“ with the clinically accurate term “anal intercourse” in the section of the Criminal Code which deals with Carnal Knowledge.


The Bill was introduced by the Queensland Health Minister Hon. Cameron Dick of the minority Labor Party Government under the leadership of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.


The Bill focused on the need to care for the sexual health of youth by removing a legal barrier to open and honest discussion of sexual activity with GP's and sexual health services. The Bill drew bipartisan support, with a majority of LNP MP's also voting n favour, and only the two Katter Party MP's voting "no". Many Labor MP's chose to make strong, passionate and informed statements in support of youth through an equal age of consent at 16. Read their speeches in Hansard (pages 3589-3618) via 


This was a great and historic day in Queensland. Life is going on today, very much as yesterday, but for many thousands of current and future youth their health, well-being and freedom to love and be loved is suddenly enhanced immeasurably.


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Left to right: Deputy Speaker Hon. Dianne Farmer MP, John Frame, Health Minister Hon. Cameron Dick, Sean Leader (Rainbow Labor), Richard Burke, Melissa Fox, Craig Atkinson (QuAC), Deputy Premier, Minister for infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Trade and Investment Hon Jackie Trad MP, Linus Power MP, Michael Scott (QuAC), Parker Forbes (QuAC), Joseph Kelly MP, Attorney-General Hon Yvette D’Ath MP. (Photo by the Health Minister’s Personal Assistant Laura Gowdie) 


This action fulfilled a Queensland Labor election promise made in early 2015.


Hear recordings by John Frame (for This Way Out ) of brief interviews at Parliament House on the day:






Media Release 15th September 2016 from the Office of the Honourable Health Minister Cameron Dick:


 Queensland’s age of consent laws standardised


The age of consent for all lawful sexual activity in Queensland will be standardised to 16 years after the Queensland Parliament voted today to remove a longstanding source of discrimination in Queensland’s Criminal Code.


Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said this change would support the health of all young Queenslanders, regardless of their sexuality.


“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to improving the sexual health of Queenslanders, and we want the focus to be squarely on sexual health, not on stigmatising relationships,” he said.


A panel of health experts met in May 2016 to consider a change to the Criminal Code 1899 and found that standardising the age of consent would improve sexual health outcomes.


“The expert panel considered that the current laws may lead to people feeling compelled to withhold information about their sexual history from health practitioners.


“This may be because they fear possible legal consequences for themselves or their partner.


“Withholding this information could have serious implications for a young person’s medical treatment, particularly as unprotected anal intercourse is the highest-risk behaviour for transmission of HIV.”


Michael Scott, Executive Director of the Queensland AIDS Council, welcomed the reform.


“It is imperative to remove any barrier to access of healthcare for all people. An unequal age of consent has been a barrier to equal access to healthcare.


“We are concerned that with the current inequality of age of consent, young people who are sexually active are reluctant to access sexual health services including HIV and other STI testing and preventative health education for fear of being prosecuted.”


These amendments bring Queensland into line with other Australian jurisdictions in relation to standardising the age of consent.


Minister Dick said, “In May this year I released the draft Queensland Sexual Health Strategy 2016–2021 for public consultation.”


“The Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 passed by the Parliament supports an action in that draft by removing the existing disparity between the age of consent for differing forms of sexual intercourse.


“Our government aims to support healthy and safe sexual experiences while providing Queenslanders with the knowledge required to maintain optimal sexual and reproductive health.


“The amendments passed by the parliament, and the proposed Queensland Sexual Health Strategy, will both help to deliver these outcomes.”



Past age of consent history in Queensland (very briefly):


When sex between males was “decriminalised” by Goss Labor in November 1990 they ignored a clear recommendation of their Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee that the age of consent should, in the interest of equality and anti-discrimination, be made equal at 16 regardless of the gender of the person or the kind of sexual activity. Instead Goss Labor enacted a discriminatory rewording of Sections 208 and 209 of the 1899 Criminal Code, which made anal intercourse a crime for “any person not an adult” (i.e. aged under 17). To their credit they tried to fix it in their 1995 Revised Criminal Code – which included a truly equal age of consent at 16, but that Act was repealed by the Borbidge Nationals dominated Government in 1996. The Nationals reinstated and amended the 1899 Code, including changing the terminology of Sections 208 & 209 from “anal intercourse” to the more sordid sounding and less specific “sodomy”, and they raised the minimum age to 18. The “sodomy law” then remained in force until September 2016 – despite at least 16 years of organised community lobbying of the Beattie and Bligh Labor, and Newman LNP, Governments.


For a detailed archived history of the campaign which achieved an equal age of consent at 16 go to:


The Palaszczuk Labor Government deserves huge praise for ensuring that all Queensland youth may now expect equal benefit and equal protection under the law, without discrimination.  



Written and posted 16th September 2016 by John Frame , Wavell Heights, Queensland.


My sincere thanks to all who contributed to the 16 year campaign for this reform – including the 740 signatories of a Parliamentary e-Petition, 238 signatories of a petition, the Queensland AIDS Council, Shelley Argent OAM and Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays, Rod Patterson (as “Tamara Tonite”),  Phil Carswell, Sean Leader, the Queensland Labor Party, Rainbow Labor, Young Labor, Peter Ridgley, Scott Grimmett, Iain Clacher, Felix Kellett, Paul Martin (QuAC), Paul Martin (psychologist), Tim Klein, Rodney Goodbun (Action Reform Change Qld), the Silver Wheat Society, Open Doors LGBT Youth Service, Dr Wendell Rosevear OAM, Dr Neil Simmons, Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, Peter Tatchell, Family Planning Queensland, Susan Booth and the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland, Queensland Pride Magazine, Qnews Magazine, the Star Observer, ABC612 Steve Austin, Triple J’s Steve Cannane (“The Hack”), ABC “The Drum”, Jane Fynes-Clinton (Courier Mail), the Brisbane Times (especially Amy Remeikis).   


Queer Radio homepage Last updated 16th September 2016