QUEENSLAND MOVES (SLOWLY) TO EXPUNGE GAY SEX CONVICTIONS


The Palaszczuk Government has acted on its pre-election commitment by tasking the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC) with recommending the best way to expunge the state’s “archaic” gay sex convictions.

In announcing the move, Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said hundreds of people were affected by the laws that should never have existed in the first place.

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“We will do this. This is long overdue. This is about righting the wrongs of the past,” she said.

Ms D’Ath confirmed there were 464 convictions and more than 500 cases before the courts in relation to specific offences within the Criminal Code at the time.

“However it is possible that some people were charges with offences outside of those, such as rape,” she said.

“One of the case studies are that individuals would actually plead guilty to a non-consensual act because the moment they said it was consensual their partner was also charged.

“It is complex but we are absolutely determined to do it.”

On May 21 last year, Queensland Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg and Shadow Attorney-General Ian Walker announced that the LNP would support, in principle, the removal of the gay panic defence and the repealing of historical convictions of gay men in Queensland who were charged with engaging in consensual homosexual acts prior to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1990.

It has taken almost eight months since then for the Queensland Labor Government to announce they will ask the QLRC to report back on the recommended changes by August 31.

We can only hope the government will also prioritise the other outstanding issues of the gay panic defence and the age of consent for anal sex.