*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of
4th December 2009 Feature article by
John Frame published by QNews magazine in their 4th December edition
(#235) on page 9 “. Slightly edited for space by Toby Longhurst, with the headline “Gay Sex In
QNews is one of
GAY SEX IN
By John Frame
Queensland remains the only state or territory in Australia which has a “sodomy law” - a law which defines a higher age of consent at 18 for anal intercourse than for vaginal intercourse and other consenting sex (which is 16). The severe penalty for any offender (including youth) is up to 14 years imprisonment.
Equal age of consent reform is necessary for same-gender attracted youth to be protected and supported by the law in true equity with their heterosexual peers and siblings. Without that legal equity some youths will not survive to enjoy the benefits of any protection of their rights as adults.
This is a family issue - any loving parent would want all of their children to be treated with equity, and to have the best possibility of living long, healthy, loving and productive lives.
The current law validates those who wish to oppress homosexual youth and it reinforces institutionalised homophobia, leaving same-gender attracted youth at dramatically increased risk of harassment, abuse, depression and suicide. They may also face increased risk of HIV infection through reduced self-esteem and the impeded delivery of duly inclusive sexual health education.
The Sodomy Law is not about limiting the sexual activity of youth for any altruistic societal benefit – it is purely about bigotry based on unreasoned fears.
In 2008, La Trobe
University conducted a national survey of Year 10 and 12 students which they
published in August 2009 in the report Secondary Students and SexualHealth 2008. Their national
statistics suggest that up to two per cent of 16 and 17 year old male
The scandal is that this was the only majority PCJC recommendation which was not realised in the November 1990 Bill. Hansard also shows that not one word was spoken about this Section in the passing of the Bill.
Goss Labor did later attempt to equalise the age of consent at 16, with their illfated 1995 Revised Criminal Code, but it was repealed by the Nationals in 1996.
However the Bligh Government flatly refuses to discuss a plan for reform – even though Queensland Labor’s official Policy Platform in Section 7.9 of the Justice and Governance Chapter states: “7.9 Labor will ensure uniformity of age among laws relating to the age of consent for lawful sexual activity”.
Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth has stated that the current law is “not consistent with the objects of the Anti-Discrimination Act” and “constitutes a discriminatory provision which breaches Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
Community attitudes in
John Frame is an LGBT
activist and was a long term presenter and producer of 4ZZZ’s weekly LGBT radio
program Queer Radio. For more information about the fight to equalise the age
of consent in