*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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25th July 2005 Email to the newly elected Attorney-General Linda Lavarch asking for her favourable support for urgent reform of the Sodomy Law. I inform her regarding the important letter of opinion sent by Queeensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth and of the Parliamentary E—petition which will be presented in Parliament on 9 August 2005. On 29 July 2005 I received confirmation that this email had been forwarded to the Ministerial office for attention. No further reply was received.


 

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

From: Kurwongbah Electorate Office

To: John Frame

Sent: Friday, July 29, 2005 3:45 PM

Subject: RE: Qld Criminal Code reform, ADCQ Commissioner writes in support

 

Dear Mr Frame

 

Thank you for your email.  I have forwarded your email to Linda’s ministerial office for attention.

 

Regards

Gai Duffy
for Linda Lavarch MP
State Member for Kurwongbah
Ph: 3205 6779

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

From: John Frame

To: Kurwongbah@parliament.qld.gov.au

Sent: Monday, July 25, 2005 12:24 PM

Subject: Qld Criminal Code reform, ADCQ Commissioner writes in support

 

Attention Linda Lavarch

Member of Parliament for Kurwongbah

 

Dear Linda,

 

I was advised today that you are rumoured to be the likely new Attorney-General. This would be a very welcome change and I wish you every satisfaction and success in that role.

 

For the last five years I have been regularly corresponding with Attorney-Generals Rod Welford and Matt Foley seeking reform of the state's Criminal Code to remove the Sodomy Law (which was enacted without debate in the same 1990 Bill which "decriminalised" sex between men). The Sodomy Law actively places the health and welfare of many youth (whether straight or gay) at increased risk of HIV infection, of self-harm and of suicide.

 

For these five years I have been constantly stonewalled by the Government saying that they simply refuse to commit to reform. I have been personally sickened by the official disdain this displays for the welfare of youth. The reason I have continued to fight for reform is that I know this to be a clear matter of social justice and equity - and I know that the youth most afflicted by the Sodomy Law are consequently those least empowered to act.

 

Since my last email to you ( 3rd June 2005, as further below) the most significant development has been that the Attorney General Rod Welford has been officially advised, in writing, by Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth that the Sodomy Law is discriminatory and harmful and that it must be removed as a matter of urgency. Her letter is dated 15th July 2005. I have attached an html file containing the text of that letter. An original copy was sent to myself as well as to the Premier and to equal rights lobby group Action Reform Change Queensland.

 

On 14th July 2005 the highly reputable parents group "Brisbane Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays" wrote to Premier Peter Beattie (as per the attached Word file) giving their clear and passionate reasons for demanding urgent reform. Paul Martin, the Manager of the Queensland AIDS Council has also called for reform (via Media Release in Feb '05).

 

Further proof of popular demand for reform is that a specific current Parliamentary E-petition has gained nearly 700 signatories:

http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/EPetitions_QLD/cgi-bin/Petitions.cgi?PetNum=421&PetType=1

 

That E-petition closes on 31st July and will be presented in Parliament on the morning of Tuesday 9th August.

 

I am hopeful that the Attorney-General will choose to respond favourably to that E-petition and announce that reform will proceed with urgency.

 

I know that the Beattie Government has expressed concern that this reform might cost the a few conservative votes but, on the contrary,  Labor Governments in WA and NT have been returned with much increased majorities following the same reform. I believe that care for the health and welfare of Queensland youth greatly exceeds the moral value of a few conservative votes.     

 

I welcome your reply.

 

Full details of my five year effort to achieve reform are at http://www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm

 

With sincere regards,

 

John

 

John Frame
presenter of Queer Radio www.queerradio.org
on community radio 4ZZZ fm102.1
Brisbane, Australia
Ph: 07 3350 1562 / 0409 501 561
Post:
82 Main Avenue, Wavell Heights 4012, QLD, Australia.

 

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

 

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

From: John Frame

To: 

Sent: Friday, June 03, 2005 2:08 AM

Subject: Increased risk of HIV to Queensland youth

 

 

From: John Frame

            82 Main Avenue, Wavell Hts 4012

            Ph 07 3350 1562 / 0409 501 561 jvframe@bigpond.net.au

 

Re: Qld Health reported their concern last month that HIV infections in Queensland had increased by 19.2% in 2004. Also in May a published national survey found that young same sex attracted people aged 15-18 years are having penetrative sex earlier than the average of their peers and that they are 5 times more likely to contract sexually transmitted infections. 

 

Queensland’s 1990 “Sodomy Law” (Sections 208 and 209 of the Criminal Code) severely impedes safe sex education and dramatically increases the risk of exposure of our state’s youth to HIV infection.

 

Dear Linda,

 

In August 2004 I contacted all Queensland members of Parliament to make sure they were aware of the risk to which youth are exposed as a direct result of our state’s archaic “Sodomy Law” (Sections 208 and 209 of the Criminal Code).  Under current State legislation ‘sodomy’ or anal intercourse is illegal until age 18, while all other consenting sexual activity is legal from age 16.  The maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment.

 

Unprotected anal intercourse (i.e. without using a condom) presents the highest risk for HIV infection and yet youth aged 16 and 17 are denied safe sex information regarding that activity (specifically because of it’s illegal status for them).

 

Many Members of Parliament responded supportively to my email, including members of all Parties and some Independents. I am certain that a majority of MP’s favour reform of this law, however I believe that reform must be enacted as soon as possible especially due to the increasing incidence of HIV infection in our state.

 

On 5th May 2005 Queensland Health issued a media release stating concern that 2004 had seen a 19.2% increase in state-wide HIV infections (www.queerradio.org/May_2005_Qld_Health_HIV_rise_media_release.doc ).

 

On that same day a combined media release by Queensland’s HIV/AIDS service agencies ( www.queerradio.org/May_2005_Joint_HIV_ Rise_Release.pdf )  stated that this represents a 40% increase since 2001. Queensland AIDS Council Manager Paul Martin is quoted in that release as warning that “this rise underscores the importance of the safe sex message and that none of us can be complacent”.

 

On 3rd February 2005 QuAC Manager Paul Martin issued a media release specifically calling for reform of the “Sodomy Law”: (www.queerradio.org/QuAC_Paul_Martin_3rd_Feb_'05_call_to_equalise_sex_laws.doc ) and I quote from that release:

 

The current law causes confusion amongst many in the community who believe that all sex between men is illegal before the age of 18” said Paul R Martin of the Queensland AIDS Council.  We are concerned that young people who are sexually active are reluctant to come forward to access sexual health services and receive sex & relationships education for fear of being prosecuted”.

 

Mr Martin went on to say “There is no legitimate reason why the age at which young men and women can have vaginal sex, which may result in child birth, should be any different from the age at which people can legally have anal sex. The current law does nothing to protect young people, on the contrary it criminalises young people who choose to have anal sex”.

 

On 25th May 2005 Melbourne’s La Trobe University (Dr Lynne Hillier et al) published an important report on a national survey of 1,749 “same sex attracted youth” (go to http://www.latrobe.edu.au/ssay/ ). The researchers found that the clear majority of same sex attracted youth are aware of their sexual attraction by age 16 (if not by 13), that they are sexually active at an earlier age than their heterosexual peers, that 70% had engaged in penetrative sexual intercourse and that only 75% of 15-18 year olds had used condoms in their last encounter. They also found that same sex attracted youth were 5 times as likely to suffer a sexually transmitted infection as would the average high school student.

 

The La Trobe report when combined with Queensland Health’s own finding on the increasing rate of HIV infection is substantial proof that the “Sodomy Law” must be removed urgently so all youths, regardless of their gender or sexuality, may hope to receive adequate education, support and protection from school counselors, health service providers, police and legal services .

 

A truly equal age of consent for all sexual activities is also vital for acceptance by family and peers.

 

Since 31st January 2005 there has been a Queensland Parliament E-Petition which I have proposed in favour of reforming the “Sodomy Law”.  The petition has gained 470 signatories up to today’s date and will remain open until 31st July 2005. I invite you to inspect and to encourage support for that petition:

http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/EPetitions_QLD/cgi-bin/Petitions.cgi?PetNum=421&PetType=1

 

On Saturday the 25th June 2005 I will host the annual Brisbane Lesbian & Gay Pride Rally in King George Square. I will speak out about the tragic consequences of the continuing delays in Queensland Parliament’s reform of the 1990 “Sodomy Law”.   As a sign of respect and concern for our state’s youth I urge you to be loudly proactive in achieving a commitment to the rapid enactment of this reform.

 

I warmly welcome your response.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

John Frame

 

Presenter of the gay and lesbian community radio program “Queer Radio” www.queerradio.org

on 4ZZZ fm102.1 in Brisbane.

 

For full details of how the history of the Queensland Sodomy Law, its impact and of my efforts toward gaining this reform since March 2000, please go to: www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm

 

82 Main Avenue,

Wavell Heights 4012

 

Ph: 07 335 01562 / 0409 501 561  jvframe@bigpond.net.au