*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of
28th October 2002 Letter to Premier Peter Beattie (with copy and covering letter to Attorney General Rod Welford), requesting a meeting with both himself and the Attorney General by a delegation in order to discuss rapid implementation of the recommendations made in the October 1990 Report by the (Labor majority) Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee Report “Reforms in Laws Relating to Homosexuality – an Information Paper”. The Report had recommended that no higher age be set for any sexual activity and that the age of consent should apply equally to both men and women, regardless of their sexual orientation.
The following is a full transcript.
To: Premier of Queensland, Hon Peter Beattie MP.
Copy to: Attorney-General Rod Welford MP
From: John Frame
(presenter for 9 years of Radio 4ZZZ’s gay support radio program Queer Radio)
Ph: 3350 1562 / 0409 501 561
appendix 1(a)(b)(c): Recommendations of the Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee report entitled “Reforms in Laws Relating to Homosexuality – An Information Paper” (Report No 2, October 1990)
Re: Request for a meeting with our delegation.
Dear Mr Beattie,
I am writing to request an opportunity for a face to face meeting with yourself and the Attorney General by a delegation representing the gay community.
We wish to discuss the amendment of current law so that the age of consent applies with equity, regardless of an individual’s sexual orientation or consenting sexual activity.
In 1990 you were the Chairman of the Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee which recommended exactly this in “Recommendation 7” of the report entitled “Reforms in Laws Relating to Homosexuality – An Information Paper” (Report No 2, October 1990) [appendix 1(b)]: “The Committee recommends that the age of consent for homosexual acts in accordance with the principles of sexual equality and anti-discrimination be the same for males as it is for females, irrespective of whether the sexual act is heterosexual or homosexual.”
As you know the Parliament at the time failed to follow the Committee’s recommendations and instead of a gender-neutral age of consent, a separate age of 18 was set for anal intercourse.
In the hearings held by the Committee, reasoned professional argument was presented to state why a separate age for a perceived homosexual act would be detrimental. The Report highlights and accepts this argument, with the Committee declaring [appendix 2 (Report page 48)] that “If sexual orientation of both boys and girls is determined early and most likely before puberty, then the age of consent for males should be the same as for females irrespective of whether the sexual act is heterosexual or homosexual.
The most damaging effect of the higher age of 18 for anal intercourse is that there is no effective sex education or relationships support directed at same sex attracted men who are aged between 16 and 18. The Report acknowledges that sexual activity will most likely happen regardless of legality, but illegality means it may happen without the benefits of knowledge of safe sexual practices to avoid contracting HIV and other intercourse-related sexually transmitted diseases.
These young men also suffer the stigma of strongly perceived inferiority due mainly to the criminality of one possible sexual act. The Report acknowledges that lack of self-esteem is a major factor in persons wanting to care for their health and well being. It is important for young gay and bisexual men to know they are just as legal and acceptable as their heterosexual and lesbian peers.
I believe that the 6th and 7th August 1990 PCJC Hearings and the Committee’s October 1990 Report contain all of the truth and information necessary for this current Government to act immediately in favour of following the Committee’s Recommendation 7.
I believe that the Government should remove Section 208 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act (Act No 3 of 1997) and amend any laws referring to that section.
My recent experience in discovering and reading the Hearings and Report documents (via the internet) has given me a renewed hope that this Labor Government can have the political will to act on it’s own past statements of beliefs.
I would like to see action occur smoothly, with full credit to a Parliament acting for the good of its people.
I further believe that since 1990 both the public and the Parliament have become more fully informed and aware of the reality of homosexuality as being just another fact of life, and certainly being neither a risk to society nor a perversion. They are ready to accept this socially just reform.
I know that I can quickly arrange for a group of eminently respectable people to meet with you and with the Attorney General at a suitable time, so that we may inform our community that progress is being made to effect the reform that should have occurred 12 years ago.
We want a Labor Government that we can vote for based on their track record of social justice, not on their possibilities for future terms in office.
I look forward to hearing from you.
3350 1562 / 0409 501 561