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16th January 2007 Email to Hon. Attorney-General Mr. Kerry Shine acknowledging his 22 November 2006 emailed message and urging him to accept the consideration of an equal age of consent as being a totally separate matter to issues affecting same sex couples. I advise that his department already posesses all the arguments necessary in order to justify urgent enactment of an equal age of consent. I am concerned that there would most likely be a very prolonged process of consultation involved in identifying and justifying a range of reforms which affect same sex couples (for example adoption, fertility clinic access etc). An equal age of consent is a youth-specific issue, just as is the age of an adult under Criminal Law (17 in Queensland, 18 everywhere else in Australia). These two issues deserve priority attention from the Attorney-General.


 

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

From: John Frame

To: Attorney - SMTP

Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 4:50 PM

Subject: Re: Attorney's Response 22nd November 2006 Reference J/06/06993

 

I refer to the Attorney-General's emailed response which was sent to me on 22nd November 2006 (Reference J/06/06993). A copy of the text from that Word document is included below.

 

The Attorney-General writes: "I advise that at some point in the near future, I plan to meet with groups interested in these and other same sex couple issues to discuss them further."

 

I especially wish to highlight that the issue of an equal age of consent is completely separate from issues related to same sex couples. There is no reason why these two areas of reform ought to be combined.

 

All the relevant arguments regarding the enactment of an equal age of consent were considered by the 1990 PCJC Committee on Homosexual Law Reform which was Chaired by Mr Peter Beattie - and the majority Recommendation, as specifically supported by Mr Beattie, was in favour of enacting a truly equal age of consent. The public was never informed as to why the Goss Government ignored that Recommendation in the November 1990 Bill which decriminalised sex between men (at the higher "adult" age of 17).

 

I believe that it is important to note that Attorney-General Dean Wells' 1995 Revised Criminal Code allowed a truly equal age of consent and it was passed without any Parliamentary comment, let alone objection, to that aspect. This proves that, for at least a decade now, the majority of both Parliament and the public have been ready to accept this long overdue reform.

 

Tragically that 1995 Revised Code was repealed in 1996 by the incoming Borbidge led National/Liberal Coalition. The high level of complacency and indifference among Queensland Parliamentarians to the rights and welfare of gay youth was proven by the fact no debate occurred even when the Nationals doubled the penalties, blurred the terminology and raised the minimum age for anal intercourse from 17 to 18 (under Sections 208 & 209 of their severely revised 1899 Criminal Code).

 

By 2003 every other State and Territory in Australia had already enacted a truly equal age of consent - sensibly setting the equal age at was already the age of consent for vaginal intercourse (17 for South Australia and Tasmania, and 16 elsewhere).

 

The issue of a truly equal age of consent equally affects ALL youth - not just those who are same sex attracted. Research in recent years by La Trobe University suggests that 20% of all youth will choose to engage in anal intercourse, for a variety of reasons. The law needs to be reformed urgently so that all youth can expect to receive equal support and protection - especially regarding their sexual health in the face of ongoing risk of HIV infection.

 

Rather than delaying consideration of an equal age of consent by unnecessarily tying it in with unrelated same sex couples issues, the one notable related legal issue to consider is the age of an adult under Criminal Law. Queensland is also the only State or Territory in Australia which sets 17 as the age of an adult - everywhere else the adult age is 18. Current Queensland Law means that two 17 year olds who choose to engage in anal intercourse may both face up to 14 years gaol.

 

There is already a wealth of eminent advice in the Attorney-General's possession, and in the public domain, to argue for the urgent reform of both a truly equal age of consent at 16 and the age of an adult as 18 under Criminal Law.

 

I urge the Attorney-General to consider passing these two reforms as a matter of expediency so that the current Beattie Government can publicly prove that it holds a prime concern for the health and well being of all of our state's youth.

 

Finally, I draw your attention to a fine article by feature writer Jane Fynes-Clinton which was published in the Courier Mail on 30th November 2006 especially for World AIDS Day http://www.queerradio.org/AOC301106.htm ). Jane highlights the need for age of consent reform so that gay youth stand a better chance of being accepted and treated with equity while in school - as well as being able have hope for a better future.

 

With my sincere regards,

 

 

John Frame

 

co-presenter, since 1994, of the gay & lesbian supportive community radio program "Queer Radio" www.queerradio.org on 4ZZZ fm102.1 

see my detailed Queensland Age Of Consent Equality webpages: www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm    
Home Phone: 07 3350 1562 / mobile: 0409 501 561
Post:
82 Main Avenue, Wavell Heights 4012, QLD, Australia.

 

----"There is no substitute for equality"----

 

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

 

 

 

Refer to: J/06/06993

 

 

 

Mr John Frame

jvframe@ozemail.com.au

 

 

Dear Mr Frame

 

My office is in receipt of a number of emails from you in recent months in relation to the age of consent.  I note you have also contacted the Premier on the same issue.

 

I advise that at some point in the near future, I plan to meet with groups interested in these and other same sex couple issues to discuss them further.

 

Thank you for taking the time to raise this matter with me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

Hon Kerry Shine MP

Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and

Minister Assisting the Premier in Western Queensland

 

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

 

 

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

From: Attorney - SMTP

To: jvframe@ozemail.com.au

Sent: Wednesday, November 22, 2006 9:13 AM

Subject: Attorney's Response

 

 

In response to your recent email, please find attached correspondence from the office of the Honourable Kerry Shine MP, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.

Kind regards,

Office of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
Level 18, State Law Building
50 Ann Street
BRISBANE
  QLD  4001

PO Box 149
BRISBANE
  QLD  4001

Phone:  07 323 93478
Fax:    07 322 02475
Email: attorney@ministerial.qld.gov.au

<<letter john frame.doc>>

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