Queensland becomes final state to equalise age of consent

George Christensen

Federal MP George Christensen

The Parliament of Queensland has voted to lower the age of consent for anal sex from 18 to 16, bringing their legislation in line with the rest of Australia.

Queensland will be the final state to amend their laws and remove the disparity. MPs also voted in line with recommendations from the Queensland AIDS Council to change mentions of the word “sodomy” to “anal intercourse.”

Speaking in Parliament, Queensland’s Health Minister Cameron Dick said that the changes were made to improve sexual health and promote equality.

“Too often the conversation about the age of consent has focused on morality and, worse still, on criminality,” Mr Dick said.

“[With these changes] we remove a discriminatory provision from our statute books and support the sexual health and wellbeing of young Queenslanders.”

Federal Queensland MP George Christensen, a vocal opponent of the Safe Schools LGBTIQ+ focused anti-bullying program, has railed against the changes proposing that it invites young boys to be “groomed” by older men.

“I appreciate they wanted to standardise the age of consent for all sort of relationships but we do know for a fact that there are old men out there who prey on younger men, groom them on the internet and seek to establish sexual relations with them, particularly when they¬†appear¬†to be questioning their sexuality,” Mr Christensen told Fairfax.

“I think at 16 years old, when you are questioning your sexuality, when you are going online, when there are predators out there, particularly older men looking for younger boys, this change in the law is fraught with disaster.”

Back in 2002, Western Australian Parliament debated similar changes to the age of consent. Liberal South West Region MLC Robyn McSweeney had comparable concerns to Mr Christensen.

“It was a sad day for the children of WA because the age of consent for homosexual males has been lowered from 21 to 16 years, and a predator might be able to get away with conducting a sexual act with a boy age 13 years,” Ms McSweeney said 14 years ago.

During debate Ms McSweeney said that prior to the discussion in Parliament she did not know what a bathhouse was, before saying she now had concerns about what might happen to children in gay saunas.

“I am horrified to think that 13-year-old boys can be sodomised in bathhouses, and under this law those who perpetrate such acts can get away with it.”

The amendments to Queensland law come at the recommendation of a panel of experts assigned by the state’s Labor Government. Executive director of the Queensland AIDS Council Michael Scott says the changes will be a great boon to healthcare access for the queer community.

“We are concerned that, with the current inequality of age of consent, young people who are sexually active are reluctant to access sexual health services including HIV and other STI testing and preventative health education for fear of being prosecuted.”

OIP Staff


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