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Tasmania to move on historic convictions

Fri 18 Dec 2015 In: International News

Tasmanian gay rights advocates have welcomed a state government announcement that it will move legislation next year to allow criminal records for gay sex to be expunged. In 1997, a decade after New Zealand decriminalised homosexuality, Tasmania became the final Australian state to decriminalise private, consenting, adult male sex, and it will be the first to provide a formal apology to those arrested and their families. "For those men who were prosecuted in Tasmania for simply being in same-sex relationships it will be a great relief to be rid of the disadvantage and stigma that comes with an unfair criminal record," says Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome. "I am proud that Tasmania will be the first state to apologise to those arrested and their families because it will lift a burden from their shoulders and send the strongest message yet that Tasmania is a progressive and inclusive society." The other states that have already passed expungement legislation are South Australia, Victoria, NSW, and the ACT. None have offered formal apologies to those arrested. Under Tasmania's former anti-gay laws the maximum penalty for consenting adult private male sex was 21 years in gaol, the highest in the western world. Meanwhile, in New Zealand Justice Minister Amy dams says there is little hope of a “broad-brush wiping” of historical convictions for homosexual acts here, stating “Its impossible to tell whether they involved consensual acts or not after the event, because of the way the law was written.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Friday, 18th December 2015 - 10:04pm

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