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Australia state introduces bill to clear historical gay sex convictions

Australia state introduces bill to clear historical gay sex convictions

The Australian state of Victoria today introduced long-awaited legislation into parliament that will expunge the criminal records of men with historical gay sex convictions.

The Parliament of Victoria will debate the bill this week.

The state legalized gay sex in 1981 but men with historical convictions still face stigma and discrimination when applying for jobs and traveling.

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said, ‘Consensual sexual acts between two adult men should never have been a crime.

‘We are legislating for the law to recognize this.’

The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) and the Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) welcomed the announcement.

Anna Brown, director of advocacy and strategic litigation at HRLC, described the legislation as a historic moment for Victoria.

She said, ‘Convicting someone because of the gender of a person they slept with should never have been a crime. The legislation recognizes this wrong and will erase the convictions that have negatively impacted on many people’s lives for decades.’

Corey Irlam, co-convener, of VGLRL, said it was a much needed reform.

He said, ‘This will mean that those people convicted will no longer have a black mark on their record when seeking a police check for a job or volunteer position.’

‘While we welcome the Bill’s imminent introduction, we’ll need to wait to see the bill tabled in Parliament before we can comment on its contents.’

In January Victoria became the first state to announce it would clear gay sex convictions. Tasmania followed shortly after.