Campaign for Age Of Consent awareness & removal of The Sodomy Law in Queensland

*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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22nd May 2001 Letter sent to each of Attorney General Rod Welford, Premier Peter Beattie and local member Neil Roberts MP asking for a public statement to clearly define age of consent and legal sexual activity. In the light of the Government’s massive Labor majority there should be no "conservative electoral backlash" concerns to hinder a clear matter of explaining current Queensland law to the public.

 

To:

    • Queensland Attorney-General Hon Rod Welford MP
    • Premier of Queensland Hon Peter Beattie MP
    • Neil Roberts MP (my local Member of Parliament)

From: John Frame

82 Main Avenue

Wavell Heights 4012

Phone 07 3350 1562 / 0409 501 561

Date: 22nd May 2001

Re: Achieving effective information of the general public regarding Age Of Consent and Legal Sexual Activity for persons aged 16 to 18 years.

Dear Sirs,

Since late 1990, when the Goss Government acted to decriminalise consenting sexual acts between men, the Queensland Government has never made any officially supported written or Internet source of information available to the public, or to any of the community’s many service providers, as to exactly how to interpret the law in relation to Age Of Consent, The Sodomy Law and the definition of legal sexual activity. The only way people have gained information is either by word-of-mouth or through sources which have provided highly conservative or blatantly wrong information - and always with a stated "disclaimer" that they will not be responsible for the consequences of such information. The state-wide Courier Mail newspaper has also repeatedly misrepresented the laws.

The result is that a vast majority of Queenslanders erroneously believe that all men aged 16 to 18, who have any sort of sex with other men, are behaving illegally. In fact the only illegal sexual act for that age is anal intercourse. It is vitally important that youth know that other, safer, sexual activities are quite legal.

  • I am asking that you act as a matter of urgency to publicly declare what has been clearly stated to me in writing by the previous Attorney-General, Hon Matt Foley MP: - that the age of consent is 16 for all males or females, but that no one under the age of 18 may engage in anal intercourse. (appendix 1)

The only official source of a declaration of such information, which has any credibility and value, is the Queensland Attorney General Department itself.

Until an official and public statement is made, a vast majority of the public will remain misinformed and men aged 16 to 18, who have any sort of sex with other men, will suffer the stigma of criminality. They will also be denied all of the Government-funded sexual-health education and other counselling services that they need in order to care for their health, both in body and in mind.

Such a responsible public action cannot be interpreted as "promoting homosexuality", nor is it encouraging young people to do sex of any nature. It is entirely about accepting reality and providing both necessary information and support for a significant section of our young population: - those who already experience the highest rate per capita of suicide due to institutionalised homophobia. Each year a new generation of youth, spanning all social groups and regions, suffers oppression due to the lack of such necessary and basic supportive information.

I have consulted Brisbane’s gay community on this issue and have broad support for my call for action. I believe that this is an important issue of social justice, which has been ignored for far too long, and that sincere efforts to effect adequate public awareness of Age of Consent and legal sexual activity must be considered a priority.

I ask for your support and for the support of the Queensland Government.

I welcome any opportunity for further discussion and the provision of documentary evidence (appendix 2).

Yours sincerely,

 

 John Frame.

 

Appendix 1:

Extracts from two letters from the Attorney General’s Office clearly state the correct interpretation of the law:

  1. Reference 2000/2159 Date: 5th May 2000:
  2. "The offence of unlawful sodomy applies to any person who sodomises a person under 18 years, or permits a male person under 18 years to sodomise him or her.

    Since 1990, when the Goss Labor Government first decriminalised anal intercourse between consenting adults, the age of consent has remained at 18.

    You are correct in noting that for other forms of sexual activity, the age of consent for both males and females is 16 years."

  3. Reference: 2000/05033 Date: 5th September 2000

"Under Queensland Law, "sodomy" refers to the act of carnal knowledge (sexual intercourse) by anal intercourse. In other words, penetration of the anus by a penis."

 

 

Appendix 2:

A fully detailed chronological file of all correspondence on this issue since February 2000 is stored at the WebPage:

www.geocities.com/queerradio/AgeOfConsent.htm