*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of
10th August 2001 Letter to newspaper The Courier Mail, radio stations ABC and Triple J, television stations ABC TV, Network 10, Channel 7, QTQ 9. Sent with a copy of the full 10th August 2001 letter to Premier Peter Beattie and Attorney-General Rod Welford. I ask for media support to encourage Government action.
The Courier Mail, Campbell Street, Bowen Hills 4006
Date: 10th August 2001
Attachments: copy of letter 10th August 2001 to Qld Premier and Attorney-General.
Re: The Beattie Government, Age of Consent and Legal Sexual Activity
In Queensland there is no printed information (pamphlet or other material) which is available to the public, or any of the health, legal and counselling services, which explains what Age of Consent means in our state.
Since March 2000, I have been corresponding with the Beattie Government through the Attorney-General and the Premier especially, in an effort to have such information made available so that young people are aware of our unusual laws, and also so that service providers can be empowered to protect the health and well-being of affected youth.
The Attorneys-General, Matt Foley and Rod Welford, and also Premier Beattie have confirmed that 16 is the Age of Consent for men or women (gay or not) to consent to sex, but that 18 is the minimum age for any man or woman to engage in anal intercourse.
The Attorneys-General were happy to confirm this in writing to me, but declined to take any further steps to inform the public - even though I had detailed to them the serious consequences of perpetuating public misinformation. Conservatively 80% of the public think that all sex between men is illegal until they are 18 – as a consequence no positive counselling, health support or sexual health education is available to men aged 16 who can legally consent to sex but who are same-sex attracted. The situation reinforces entrenched homophobia which exacerbates low self-esteem, thereby continuing the tragically high suicide rate in same-sex attracted youth.
In an interview I recorded with Mr Beattie on 15th June 2001 on this issue, he states that "Alright, well if it’s about educative,(sic) educating about the existing law, well we’re always happy to do that, OK?"
I believe from subsequent correspondence that he is still unwilling to face the issue.
Recently I phoned 5 youth service providers and not one of them knew either the correct age of consent for same-sex attracted youth, or indeed how to find out such information.
I urge you to consider taking some action to bring pressure to bear on the Beattie Government to get the public and service providers adequately informed.
I am available at any time to discuss the matter and can provide supportive professional contacts. A complete list of correspondence is stored on the web atwww.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm.