Removing Past Gay Convictions Not on WA’s Agenda

MischinMichaelWA’s government has no plans to follow the lead set by Victoria and introduce specific legislation to remove convictions for gay sex prior to the 1989 and 2002 law reforms.

Yesterday Victorian Premier Dr Dennis Napthine announced that his government would introduce legislation to allow men convicted of having homosexual sex at a time when it was illegal to have the convictions erased from their record.

Today a spokeswoman for the WA Attorney-General Michael Mischin (pictured) commented saying there are no plans for similar legislation in Western Australia. The spokeswoman highlighted that people can apply to have their convictions declared ‘spent’.

WA has no current plans for such legislation, however under the Spent Convictions Act 1988 (WA), a person can apply to have an offence deemed “spent,” making it illegal for a person to be discriminated against in any way in relation to a conviction that has been “spent”.

Lynn MacLaren The Greens MLC for the Southern Metro has said that she believes specific legislation would be useful in Western Australia.

“There is no doubt that legislation should be introduced in this state to remove stigma and end a chapter for older gay men in Western Australia who were unfairly punished for being gay.

“As we make advances towards equality, I certainly believe it is time that those once unfairly condemned for having consensual gay sex have their convictions expunged.

“The convictions promoted prejudice and hate, it is time to leave that part of history firmly in the past, those unfairly convicted deserve a clean slate.” MacLaren said.

In New South Wales their Attorney-General has indicated that he is in favour of removing convictions for people who were charged with having consensual sex.

“We need to work out how we could clear the records of people without running the danger of inadvertently clearing paedophiles from criminal behaviour,” said NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith.

Independent NSW MP Alex Greenwich has stated that he will introduce the required legislation to the NSW parliament.

“2014 marks 30 years since decriminalisation and I will work with my State parliament colleagues to right this historic wrong that saw gay men charged for being who they are and loving who they love,” said Greenwich.

Tasmanian anti-discrimination commissioner Robin Banks has highlighted that removing convictions is of greater importance in states where law reform was late coming. As Tasmania was the last state to decriminilise homosexuality in 1997 there are more people who are in the work force who are still affected by these types of convictions.

Liberal Leader Will Hodgman has announced that he would offer in principle support for similar legislation in Tasmania. The newly formed National Party in Tasmania has also indicated it’s support.

Speaking to the ABC today, Human Rights Lawyer Paula Gerber said the convictions should be erased nationally.

“One gentleman indicated to me that he had stayed in the same job his whole career because he was too scared of, if he changed jobs, having to be subjected to a criminal police check,” Gerber said. “Now he’s very stressed because they are doing a restructure and everyone has to reapply for their jobs, and that will include a police check.”

OIP Staff

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12-01-2014   Victoria to Erase Gay Sex Convictions



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