- The Australian state has already agreed to expunge criminal records for gay sex and cross dressing but it may go even further.
The Australian state of Tasmania should compensate LGBT+ people it convicted for homosexuality and cross-dressing, a report says.
Like all of Australia, Tasmania has now scrapped the laws. And in 2018, it agreed to wipe clean criminal records for the innocent LGBT+ people it convicted under the cruel legislation.
But now the official Independent Review of Expungement of Historical Offences Act recommends one-off compensation payments for LGBT+ victims that Tasmania previously convicted.
The report says: ‘This payment should be available automatically on the finalisation of an application in which the secretary [government] has determined to expunge any charge or conviction.
‘It should not involve a hearing and should be an amount determined by the government to be appropriate.’
Moreover it recommends two tiers of payment. Higher payments should go to LGBT+ people who had convictions listed on their criminal records.
Meanwhile those who were charged with offenses, but never had them listed on their criminal records, should receive a smaller sum.
‘The injustice demands recompense’
LGBT+ campaigners from Equality Tasmania welcomed the recommendation. The organization has previously called for financial compensation for the laws’ victims.
Spokesperson, Rodney Croome, says:
‘It was a mistake not to include financial compensation in the original expungement legislation, given the trauma, indignity and disadvantage caused by conviction.
‘The injustice suffered by those who were convicted demands more than acknowledgement and expungement, it demands recompense.
‘We call on the [Tasmanian] Government to act quickly on the review’s recommendations, given the advanced age of many of the men convicted under our former laws.’
Indeed many of the men convicted under the laws have now died.
However, while Equality Tasmania estimates at least 10 of the victims remain alive, none have made successful applications to have their records wiped clean.
The review also found that it was too hard to access the application forms to start the process.
And it called on the government to change the law so it includes people who resisted or obstructed police enforcing the anti-LGBT+ laws.