It’s taken far too long but finally Queensland is moving out of the dark ages, looking to standardise the age of consent for anal sex and bringing to an end one of the last legal discriminations against the state’s homosexual community.
Homosexuality remained illegal in Queensland until 1990, when the Goss government overturned the law that the Joh Bjelke-Petersen government had encouraged police to uphold.
Now the Palaszczuk government wants to standardise the age of consent at 16, omit the offence of sodomy from the criminal code “and make further consequential amendments to ensure that the concept of carnal knowledge used in the code is extended to include anal intercourse”.
Health Minister Cameron Dick (pictured) said it was time Queensland caught up with society.
“Queensland cannot continue to discriminate between forms of sexual intercourse, particularly when we know young people felt compelled to withhold information about their sexual history from health practitioners for fear of possible legal consequences for themselves or their partner,” he told Parliament.
“This can have serious implications for their medical treatment, particularly as unprotected anal intercourse is the highest risk behaviour for transmission of HIV.
“It also has the effect of stigmatising same-sex relationships, which in itself can be harmful for an individual’s well being.”
The bill has been sent to a parliamentary committee for review.
The government is also working through ways to expunge the record of those found guilty under the state’s historic homosexuality laws (for consensual acts) and has made the first legislative moves to remove Homosexual Advance Defence – also known as “gay panic” as a provocation defence.