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

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10th  April 2006 Letter to Premier Peter Beattie in reply to his letter dated 5 April 2006 which had suggested that the correct information which is displayed on the Youth Advocacy Centre website constitutes an effort made by his Government toward adequately informing the public in regard to age of consent and legal sexual activity. In my reply I advise that it was own persistence from July 2000 in lobbying the YAC which resulted in their decision to amend their displayed information in December of that year and that the YAC are not a representative Government body.

 

I remind the Premier of other highly relevant points in support of reform, including his own proven involvement in the history of the Queensland Sodomy Law, and I ask “How can the current law be considered moral or just? How can your Government justify its ongoing failure to enact reform?”

 

 

 as per the original Word file :

 

 

To:      Hon Premier Peter Beattie MP

            GPO Box 185,

            BRISBANE Albert Street

            QLD 4002

 

From: John Frame

            82 Main Avenue, Wavell Hts 4012

            Ph 07 3350 1562 / 0409 501 561 jvframe@ozemail.com.au  

 

Date: 10th April 2006

 

Your Reference: 97972/JM33/LJP

 

Re:  Your letter from your office dated 5th April 2006 signed by Chief Of Staff, Rob Whiddon.

 

Dear Mr. Beattie,

 

The 5th April 2006 letter attempts to defend against my claim that you have not kept your word, given in our 15th June 2001 interview, that you would at least educate the public about the present law in regard to age of consent and legal sexual activity.

 

The letter suggests that proof of your action toward education exists in that the Youth Advocacy Centre, which is partly funded by the Queensland Government, displays correct information on their website. However I assure you that the main reason that they do display correct information is as a result of my own actions in 2000.

 

I had received a 3rd July 2000 letter from Anna Bligh as Minister for Families, Youth and Community Care and Minister for Disabilities Family Services, in which she declined to approve a public education effort on legal sexual activity and the age of consent. She claimed that youth were already adequately informed via the government-funded "GENERATE" website. In fact there was no information on the actual "GENERATE" website about age of consent, and when I searched their link to the "Youth Advocacy Centre", I found that the YAC site displayed incorrect information (stating that all male to male sex was illegal for men aged under 18). Over several months I telephoned, emailed, and mailed the Youth Advocacy Centre about this, and they eventually amended their site in December 2000.

 

The Youth Advocacy Centre website www.yac.net.au continues to display easily accessible concise information which is very easy to comprehend. However I believe that the overriding public perception of the Youth Advocacy Centre is that they are an independent body, rather than being representative of Queensland Government opinion. Their website also displays the clear disclaimer: "The Youth Advocacy Centre does not accept responsibility for any action arising out of reliance on the information on this site." This shows that they are not making an official statement which is representative of the Queensland Government.


It is a fact that much of the accurate information elsewhere on the internet in regard to Queensland’s age of consent has been due to my own efforts since early 2000. At that time there was a huge preponderance of misinformation, which was further exacerbated when the Queensland Government funded a project by Logan Youth and Family Services to distribute posters to all state schools in 2001 in regard to youth and the law.

On the poster the Logan Youth Legal Service poster, 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 was:

16 years

You are able to have sex with someone of the opposite sex without someone getting charged.

On 5th February 2001 I emailed Attorney General Matt Foley regarding this poster project, advising that I believed that by mentioning opposite sex activity, while omitting same sex activity, they had broadly inferred illegality in regard to same sex activity.

 

The poster was funded by the Attorney General's Department and prominently displayed that Department's official logo - thereby giving it undue credibility. It also featured a disclaimer, denying any liability for errors or omissions.

I advised Attorney General Matt Foley that I believed this to be a prime example of the self-perpetuating misinformation which results from his Department's reticence to act toward adequately educating the general public about age of consent, the Sodomy Law and legal sexual activity.

Of course today the easy and best solution for the Government is for you to do as you personally and officially recommended in your 1990 PCJC Report on Homosexual Law Reform – and that is to enact a truly equal age of consent. It is vital that this happens while you know that you have the numbers of MP’s to ensure the success of that reform.

 

Since 2003 Queensland has been the only state or territory in Australia with an unequal age of consent. The Queensland AIDS Council has advised you that the law impedes vital safe sex information. The Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner has advised you that the law is definitely discriminatory, as well as being a risk to youth, and that it should be removed urgently. Brisbane Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) have written requesting urgent reform so that all of their children may be adequately protected under the law (i.e. not just the heterosexual ones).


740 Queensland citizens joined my 2005 Parliamentary E-petition which closed on 31st July 2005. However the Attorney General’s 22nd March 2006 Ministerial Response was entirely unsatisfactory. The Minister acknowledges the negative aspects of the current law, but says that the Government will not enact reform because this is a “vexed” issue.

 

Surely the franchise for women was a “vexed” issue, as was the franchise for indigenous people. Concern over losing the support of some voters on “vexed” issues has not stopped past Governments from enacting necessary reforms.

 

The enactment of a truly equal age of consent in Queensland is not only necessary, but also 15 years overdue. I believe that since you have a known personal involvement in the history of the law’s enactment, you should also display an active interest in ensuring its urgent reform.

 

The other very important issue impeding equal treatment of youth in Queensland is that the age of an adult under Criminal Law here is 17 – whereas in every other Australian state or territory it is 18. All Queensland youth deserve to be able to access youth services and legal protection in equity with other Australian youth.

 

Since you are an informed lawyer, you will know the dangerous truth that the current Queensland law presents the situation where a person aged 17 could legally engage in any of a myriad of consenting acts approved by their 16 year old partner – and yet face 14 years jail if they happen to choose anal intercourse. How can the current law be considered moral or just? How can your Government justify its ongoing failure to enact reform?

 

I look forward to your positive and hopefully detailed reply.

 

With my sincere regards.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

 

John Frame.