*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of Queensland, Australia - A campaign to remove our Sodomy Law (which was enacted in 1990).

what the law means...an easy to read pamphlet...a brief story of the campaign so far...homosexual law reform history in Qld...Government legislation referencesCorrespondence Summary List...   RETURN to opening page

1st March 2010 Email with to Premier Anna Bligh and Attorney-General Cameron Dick. Regarding the 3rd February 2010 statement by the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG of strong support for equal age of consent reform in Queensland. Michael Kirby retired as a Justice of the High Court of Australia in February 2009. The email contains the full text of the statement by the Hon. Michael Kirby (rather than adding the pdf file as an attachment or risking that the recipient wouldn’t bother to download it).

 


 

 

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

From: John Frame

To: attorney@ministerial.qld.gov.au and ThePremier@premiers.qld.gov.au

Sent: Monday, March 01, 2010 5:29 PM

Subject: statement by Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG in support of equal age of consent reform in Queensland

 

For the attention of the Hon. Attorney-General Mr Cameron Dick

and of the Hon. Premier Ms Anna Bligh

 

Dear Attorney-General and Premier,

 

I bring to your attention a 3rd February 2010 statement issued by the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, retired Justice of the High Court in Australia, in which he declares strong support for parliamentary action on equal age of consent reform. He compares the current law in Queensland with the law which India reformed in 2009, and concludes by stating:

 

"All of the reasons given for the noteworthy decision of the Indian judges apply here. What India and the rest of Australia have already done, Queenslanders should now do by parliamentary action. It is a basic matter of equality of citizenship."   

 

I have included further below a copy of the text of the Hon. Michael Kirby's statement, which includes his contact details. I also have a pdf file of his original statement stored on my website for public access, linked via:

http://www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm#Hon_Michael_Kirby

 

The direct URL for the pdf file is:

 http://www.queerradio.org/Hon_Michael_Kirby_3rdFebruary2010.pdf

 

Shelley Argent OAM, national spokesperson for Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays, offers her full support for the Hon. Michael Kirby's statement. You can speak with Shelley at 0409 363 335. 

 

I know that you will both have some awareness of the now 10 year campaign calling for Queensland to follow the civil rights progress which has been made in every other Australian state and territory through enacting a truly equal age of consent.

 

Reform action was strongly recommended in July 2005 by Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth. Her letter will be on your records. Queensland Labor's official Policy Platform includes clear and specific written support for equity in age of consent laws.

 

Even former Premier Peter Beattie is on record, in the PCJC Report No2 of 1990, as supporting the Committee's majority recommendation for a truly equal age of consent. There is no official record of the reason why the Goss Cabinet ignored the PCJC recommendation and decided instead to set a higher minimum age for anal intercourse. In 1995 they attempted to set a truly equal age of consent at 16 in their Revised Criminal Code, however the new Code was repealed by the Borbidge National/Liberal Coalition just before it would have become law.

     

Later this year the Queensland Museum will stage a feature titled "Prejudice and Pride" to mark the 20th anniversary of "homosexual law reform" in Queensland. Unless equal age of consent reform happens soon, that exhibit will also be infamous for marking the 20th anniversary of Australia's only surviving sodomy law.

 

I ask your commitment to urgent reform action, and I welcome your response.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

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

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The Hon. Michael D. Kirby AC CMG

3 February 2010.

 

UNEQUAL LAWS AFFECTING HOMOSEXUAL CITIZENS IN QUEENSLAND

 

In July 2009, an important decision was delivered by the High Court of Delhi, India,

declaring that provisions of the Indian Penal Code as they affected homosexual

citizens in India were unconstitutional. The basis of the decision was the principle of

the Indian Constitution which was held to require equal treatment of all citizens,

including gays.

 

The Queensland Criminal Code, like the Indian Code, was drafted in the 19th

century. Originally, it too contained laws of the kind struck down in India. Most of

these laws have already been reformed and repealed in Australia by parliamentary

action.

However, Section 208 of the Queensland Code remains. It imposes a penalty of up

to 14 years imprisonment for anal intercourse (“sodomy”), even where occurring by

consent and in private. Elsewhere in Australia, the discriminatory age of consent for

homosexual and heterosexual offences of this kind has now been repealed, and a

common age of consent of 16 years accepted. But this is not the case in

Queensland. There, a different minimum age of 18 years for gays remains in force.

 

We have no Bill of Rights or constitutional principles to invoke to remove this vestige

of outmoded discrimination. In Australia, we must look to elected parliaments to do

so. There is no apparent reason why the Parliament of Queensland should adopt a

different standard from that accepted by legislators elsewhere in Australia. No

special needs of Queenslanders apply.

 

It is time that this last relic of criminal legal discrimination was removed in

Queensland. It is a hangover from earlier, ignorant and prejudiced days. It exposes

homosexual youth in Queensland to grave differential criminal penalties; potential

harassment; and impedes effective strategies to respond in Queensland to the risks

of HIV and AIDS in young people. All of the reasons given for the noteworthy

decision of the Indian judges apply here. What India and the rest of Australia have

already done, Queenslanders should now do by parliamentary action. It is a basic

matter of equality of citizenship.

 

Michael Kirby

 

Level 7, 195 Macquarie Street Sydney NSW 2000 Australia

Telephone: +61 2 9231 5800 Facsimile: +61 2 9231 5811

Website: www.michaelkirby.com.au

E-mail: mail@michaelkirby.com.au