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Expunging gay sex convictions on the cards for Qld

Attorney General, Minister for Justice, Minister for Training and Skills and Redcliffe MP Yvette D'Ath at the official swearing-in ceremony when Queensland Parliament resumed in Brisbane.. Photographer: Liam Kidston. POOL IMAGES: FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE IN PRINT AND ONLINE
Attorney General, Minister for Justice, Minister for Training and Skills and Redcliffe MP Yvette D'Ath at the official swearing-in ceremony when Queensland Parliament resumed in Brisbane.. Photographer: Liam Kidston. POOL IMAGES: FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE IN PRINT AND ONLINE Liam Kidston

THE Queensland Government will investigate ways to expunge historic convictions for homosexual sex from a person's criminal history.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said on Wednesday she had tasked the Queensland Law Reform Commission with recommending how to remove the convictions.

She said it would send a clear message that outdated and intolerant attitudes towards the gay community belonged in the past.

"This is about doing what is right, what is fair and what is just for all Queenslanders," she said.

"This is a complex issue due to the technicalities of Queensland's Criminal Code and the historic nature of these cases."

Ms D'Ath said there was growing support throughout Australia, and internationally, that past injustices towards our gay community needed to be corrected.

"It is time to ensure that members of our community are not burdened by criminal convictions for something that should never have been a crime in the first place," she said.

LGBTI advocacy groups have welcomed the move that would overturn convictions for offences when homosexual sex was illegal.

Convictions for being in a homosexual relationship included "aggravated sexual assault" and had to be declared when applying for jobs.

LGBTI Legal Service executive director Emile McPhee welcomed the move - wishing only it could be put into law more quickly.

"It's a welcome move. The ideal thing would be for it to go straight into legislation instead of being reviewed by the Law Reform Commission," he said.

"But it's a complex issue and the commission does good work so we're generally happy with it."

Queensland Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg  said the LNP supported the initiative.

"On the 21st of May last year myself and (shadow attorney-general) Ian Walker indicated that we support the expunging of these historical criminal records," he said.

"We made that indication almost seven months ago. We are very pleased the government is now following suit, and we look forward to the final details around that."

Ms D'Ath said the Commission would complete its report before August 31.
 

Topics:  court, crime, editors picks, homosexuality, queensland government



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