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More Australian jurisdictions moving to wipe historical gay sex charges

New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory will consider joining Victoria and Tasmania in wiping convictions of men charged with having adult gay sex before it was decriminalized
Sydney's iconic Opera House and harbor in New South Wales
Photo by Diliff

The Australian state of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory may follow Victoria and Tasmania in quashing historical convictions for gay sex before it was legalized.

The Victorian Government announced Sunday that it intended to erase historical convictions for consensual adult gay sex, and all of the parties in the Tasmanian State Parliament were quick to say they wanted to see a similar reform for their state.

Tasmania’s anti-discrimination commissioner Robin Banks is already looking to how that could occur.

Then yesterday New South Wales Attorney-General Greg Smith told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he would support a similar reform – so long as it distinguished clearly between consensual and non-consensual sexual conduct.

‘We need to work out how we could clear the records of people without running the danger of inadvertently clearing pedophiles from criminal behavior,’ Smith said.

The Australian Capital Territory is also considering the issues of how to remove historical convictions for consensual adult gay sex but faces a more complex challenge.

The Australian Capital Territory became the first Australian jurisdiction to legalize homosexuality in 1976 so its records are pre-electronic – making it hard to find if there is anyone who needs their records cleared.

Earlier today an Australian Capital Territory Government spokesman told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation it was looking into the issue but changes would only be made after examining how feasible they were.

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