*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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20th October 2005 Letter to Attorney-General Linda Lavarch requesting a Ministerial response to the finalised Parliamentary E-Petition calling for Sodomy Law Reform, which was referred to her office on 10th August 2005. I also follow up emailed and telephoned requests for a face to face meeting with representatives of relevant community groups and service organisations. I refer to the QADC Commissioner’s letter of support for reform dated 15th July 2005 and to the letter from Brisbane Parents Family & Friends of Lesbians And Gays dated 14th July  2005.


 

To:      Hon Attorney-General Mrs. Linda Lavarch MP

            GPO Box 149, BRISBANE QLD 4001

 

From: John Frame

            82 Main Avenue, Wavell Hts 4012

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

 

Date: 20th October 2005

 

Your Reference: 2005/03145

 

Re:  Ministerial Response to the finalized Parliamentary E-Petition # 421-05 - calling for Sodomy Law Reform - which was tabled on 9th August 2005.

 

 

Dear Mrs. Lavarch,

 

I have made several telephone calls to your office since your appointment as Attorney-General seeking details as to how a representative community and services group meeting might be arranged with you in order to discuss the urgent need for Sodomy Law Reform. The only advice I have received, by telephone, is that you have requested your advisors to look into the matter.

 

You will be aware of the letter which was sent on 15th July 2005 by Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth to Attorney-General Rod Welford and to Premier Peter Beattie, in which the Commissioner states that Queensland’s Sodomy Law: “discriminates on the basis of sexuality. These provisions of the Criminal Code are inconsistent with the object of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 to promote equality for everyone and protect them from unfair discrimination, and the premise upon which the legislation was enacted, namely, that everyone should be equal before and under the law and have the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination.”

 

The Commissioner concludes by stating that It is now imperative that Queensland remove the age difference for lawful heterosexual and homosexual sex between consenting sexual partners. These legislative changes will ensure that Queensland law is consistent with the International Covenant and local discrimination law, it will reflect contemporary realities of society, and assist in addressing the increase in HIV infections.”

 

With this letter in mind, I welcome an official response to the E-Petition.

 

I am aware that over twenty community groups and service organisations have co-signed a letter which also calls for prompt reform and that this letter will be sent to your office in the near future. The group “Brisbane Parents Family & Friends of Lesbians And Gays” sent a fine letter to the Premier on 14th July 2005 and I have attached a copy of that letter for your reference.

 

Recently I have been reading an excellent submission titled “Equality Before The Law” (http://www.dcls.org.au/Documents/G&L%20Reform%20Paper.rtf ) which the Darwin Community Legal Service presented in 2002 to the Northern Territory Parliament on this same issue. I whole-heartedly agree with their closing statement:

 

“It is important that the Northern Territory Government takes a leadership role and demonstrates that it is proud of these reforms – as it should be”

 

I believe that Queensland should demonstrate the same courage of conviction displayed by the Northern Territory Government, when Members of both sides of Parliament combined to enact equal age of consent reform - by a very clear margin - on 26th November 2003.

 

Queensland remains the only Australian state or territory with an unequal age of consent. All of the arguments needed to justify reform were contained in the October 1990 PCJC Report on Homosexual Law Reform which Mr. Peter Beattie himself chaired and which specifically recommended against the enactment of a Sodomy Law.

 

Mr. Beattie is therefore already clearly on record as being officially in favour of this reform. He has consistently advised, in correspondence to me, that he is leaving it up to the Attorney-General to decide either for or against bringing this reform to Parliament.

 

I hope that your staff will give you good advice which empowers you to make a swift decision in favour of reform.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

With sincere regards.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

John Frame.


(This is a copy from the original Word file)

 

 

PFLAG

Parents and friends of Lesbians and gays – support group

c/- Queensland AIDS Council,

PO Box 3142,South Brisbane. 4101    

Email: pflagbris@hotmail.com

Phone: 07 3017 1739

 

 

Hon. Premier Peter Beattie,

Parliament House,

George Street,

Brisbane. 4001

 

14th July, 2005

 

Dear Sir,

 

Reform of Sodomy Laws

 

We are writing this letter in support of the need for reform to Sodomy laws. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) believe that it is time for the “age of consent” to show equality for all by making the age of consent 16years of age which will remove confusion and another inequality affecting the gay youth.

 

We all know, whether we approve or not that the present generation are engaging in sexual intercourse at quite an early age and we believe that gay youth need as much information as possible to keep them safe. 

 

Presently, it seems that many lack access to safe sex information because of their fear of accessing legitimate agencies for safe sex information and secondly because of the confusion amongst workers about legal ramifications involved with supplying gay youth with relevant information.

 

Sexual equality doesn’t mean that gay youth will be more permissive. Studies show that providing teenagers with safe sex information does not make them engage in sexual intercourse earlier but it does show that if they do they are more inclined to use protection and be more informed about their actions.  The studies that I personally have seen show that in some cases good sexuality education sometimes delays their decisions to begin a sexual relationship.  As a parent group we want our youth to be able to access information without fear of prosecution or reprisals for all concerned.

 

A problem for gay youth is they already feel marginalised with little or no positive reference made to homosexuality by school counsellors, peers, relationship education and families in general. And, because of this are more inclined to be at a higher risk of drug taking, alcohol abuse and suicide.

 

Research shows that gay youth are 7 times more likely to consider suicide and 6 times more likely to be homeless than heterosexual youth. This clearly shows our children are high risk and often with low self esteem. These two factors often lead to unnecessary risk taking in sexual activity which can be a grave concern for parents. 

 

A large concern for many is the fear of exploitation by sexual predators but research shows that gay youth are no more exposed to this than heterosexual youth with the age of consent being at 16 years for them. PFLAG parents want the government to provide the same rights for our gay youth as our heterosexual youth.

 

We strongly believe and urge the State government to reconsider these laws and amend them as quickly as possible.

 

 

Yours truly,

 

 

 

Shelley Argent (Convenor)

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.