*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of
5th February 2001Email sent to Attorney-General Matt Foley about the poster issued to all Queensland schools, which demonstrates the continued misinformation due to the lack of action by the Attorney General to effectively inform the public.
This is new matter related to my efforts (which began in March 2000) to get the Queensland Government to adequately inform the public about age of consent and legal sexual activity. (The full file of correspondence is atwww.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm)
Late last year the Logan Youth Legal Servicewww.yfs.org.au/legal (part of the Logan Community Centre) issued a 290 x 420mm poster entitled "Young People & The Law" to all Queensland Schools.
(a printable 1.4mb A4 copy is atwww.queerradio.org/loganyouthposterA4.jpg)
The Service was attempting to cover all legal bases for youth - but the only reference that they made to being able to engage in legal sex is:
" 16 years
You are able to have sex with someone of the opposite sex without someone getting charged."
I believe that by not mentioning same-sex activity, they infer illegality. There should also be mention of "consent" and as well as the fact that anal intercourse is not legal until 18. At the very least there should be a prominent reference to a readily accessible, government-backed source of accurate information (if only such a thing existed!).
They said they did not add any other detail because that would necessitate use of the term "anal intercourse" and, they claim, would thus have caused many schools to refuse to display the posters.
The poster was funded by the Attorney General's Department and bears that Department's official logo, thereby giving it undue credibility. It also features a prominent disclaimer, denying any liability for errors or omissions.
In a meeting I attended with workers at Logan Youth Legal Service on 24th January, they said they would not recall or amend the posters but have offered instead to work with GLWA or other LGBT groups to design a pamphlet that has correct information in a suitable layout and straightforward language.
The trouble, they say, is that they do not have any funding to do that project, let alone to print and distribute them throughout Queensland.
I believe that this is a prime example of the self-perpetuating misinformation resulting from the Attorney-General Department's reticence to act in adequately educating the general public about age of consent, the Sodomy Law and legal sexual activity.
Further, I believe that the Attorney General's Department must act as a matter of urgency, to allocate funds to support the Logan Youth Legal Service in the production of a suitable pamphlet for distribution throughout the legal, health, counselling and education infrastructure.
When I went in search of accurate information 12 months ago, I had to phone Police Headquarters, The Department of Justice and finally the Attorney-General's Department just to get an address to request such written information. It's Queensland Law, and it is the Attorney General's obligation to see that the public can readily access accurate official information about that law.
Currently the only Government funded source of accurate information is the
on-line website of the Youth Advocacy Centre
I welcome any comments about the Logan poster. My own expectation is that the first thing most youth would look for is information on sex and drugs. Those hoping to find some indication that same-sex activity might be legal are NOT, I would suggest, likely to approach a legal service or solicitor for the possibility of more positive information.
They need to be able to discretely pick-up a pamphlet which will not only inform them about what's legal and at what age, but which will also have a comprehensive list of counselling and support services - including Queensland's Gay And Lesbian Welfare Association.
3350 1562 / 0409 501 561
82 Main Avenue, Wavell Height 4012.