Homosexual acts were decriminalised in 1991 in Queensland. However, convictions up to that point were still on the record, which meant that those convicted were still regarded as having a criminal record.
“This is about doing what is right, what is fair and what is just for all Queenslanders”
said Queensland’s Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Hon Yvette D’Ath, of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) who has asked the Queensland Law Reform Commission to begin a process by which these convictions can be expunged from the record.
According to D’Ath, during the 90 years these laws were in existence, Queensland had seen 464 convictions, and 500 cases before the courts, and “many other states have already taken action in this area – we’re one of the last to do so – and I think it’s long overdue”.
“This is just one more step we can take to provide that equality and fairness”.
There are also other areas of concern to D’Ath, such as the gay panic defence and the difference between age of consent for heterosexuals (age 16) and homosexuals (18), and she feels that these could be legislated for at the same time.
Leader of the opposition, Lawrence Springborg, also supports expunging the records of homosexual convictions. He stated: “We are very, very pleased that the government is now following suit, and we look forward to the final details around that”.
New South Wales, ACT, South Australia and Victoria have already removed convictions for homosexual acts which occurred prior to 1991 and were still hanging over the gay men involved, while Tasmania has pledged to bring in legislation to this effect this year, 2016.