*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of
22nd August 2000Response from the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Karen Walters advising inability to act on the discriminatory nature of the Sodomy Law:
Transcript:(for image of original go to www.queerradio.org/AntiDiscrim1.jpg and www.queerradio.org/AntiDiscrim2.jpg)
Date: 22nd August 2000
Dear Mr Frame,
I refer to your letter of 23 June 2000 requesting advice on whether sodomy laws contained in the Queensland Criminal Code are discriminatory. I apologise for not replying earlier, however I am sure you will appreciate that I wanted to give thorough consideration to the matter raised in your letter.
The Anti- Discrimination Commission administers the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 ("The Act"). The Act prohibits discrimination in the basis of certain attributes in certain areas of activity. The Act however does not purport to provide redress for all types of seemingly differential or unfair treatment, conduct or rules. Rather, the Act only provides redress for alleged discrimination in one of the areas covered by the Act.
The areas of activity that the Act covers are:
Discrimination under the Act occurs where a person treats another person less favourably because of their sex, race, age, etc in one of the above areas. It would appear that your concern is not that the administration of the law is occurring in a way that is discriminatory, but that the law itself is discriminatory.
As you may be aware the Queensland Parliament has the power to make laws for the State of Queensland and this law making power is supreme. The Anti-Discrimination Act does not allow the Commission to regulate or investigate the legislature’s law making decisions.
I appreciate that you are concerned about the law and the potential misunderstanding that the law may create. However, while it may appear that the law is unfair and treats men differently, it does not amount to discrimination under the Anti-Discrimination Act because of the law making power of the Parliament. This means that the Commission has no power to act in relation to this matter.
The appropriate course of action for citizens who believe a law to be unfair is to make your concerns known to your local Member of Parliament or to the Attorney General, the Minister responsible for the Criminal Code, to seek to have the law changed. I do note that you have already written to the Attorney General regarding your concerns.
I hope the above explanation has cast better light on the meaning of discrimination under the Act. Unfortunately, I am unable to assist you further with your concerns.
Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Queensland.