Gay men in Queensland can now have historical convictions removed

Gay men who were convicted of homosexual offences in Queensland, prior to the laws being changed in the 1990’s, will be able to have their convictions removed under new legislation passed by the state’s government.

Queensland follows New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia in passing a law that acknowledges that the actions of previous governments was wrong.

Homosexuality was illegal in Queensland until 1991 when the Goss government moved to decriminalise gay sex.

For many people the convictions they received decades ago have had to be declared when applying for some jobs, applying for working with children cards and when travelling overseas.

Attorney General Yvette D’Ath said the new law helped to correct the mistakes of the past.

“Such convictions were not only unjust but they could also have far-reaching effects on a person’s employment and travel opportunities,” D’Ath said.

People who hold historical convictions will have to apply to have them removed. Under the legislation, the Department of Justice and Attorney-General director general will be responsible for deciding on applications for expungement.

Queensland’s Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the advocacy from the LGBTIQ community had improved the lives of many people in the state.

“The Queensland we live in today is a very different one to the Queensland of the 1980’s” she said.

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan announced a Labor government would bring in similar legislation prior to the 2017 election.

Speaking to OUTinPerth in September, the premier said he hoped Western Australia would have similar legislation introduced before the end of the year.

“We are in the process of drafting legislation, we will do that, and no doubt that will alleviate some suffering in particular for middle aged and older men.” McGowan said highlighting that he hoped to have the legislation introduced before the end of the year.

The Premier acknowledged it was a tricky legal area to draft legislation for because over the decades when gay men were targeted they were charged under a wide variety of laws.

“We want to make sure we don’t remove convictions from people where the offence they were charged with is still an offence. You want to remove the conviction from people where it is no longer an offence that exists, but applied to them back in the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s.” McGowan said.

OIP Staff

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