When gay sex was a crime: campaign to expunge records goes national

Victoria and South Australia will finally expunge those convicted of consensual gay sex. So will other states follow? Crikey intern Broede Carmody examines the roadmap.

Gay sex convictions are set to be abolished beyond Victoria, with New South Wales and Tasmania considering following the state’s example in expunging the record for sexual acts that occurred between consenting men before homosexuality was decriminalised. But advocates and those affected say this is just the first step, and they are calling for an apology.

5 comments

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5 thoughts on “When gay sex was a crime: campaign to expunge records goes national

  1. mikeb

    I don’t believe gay sex should be a crime but also don’t believe laws should be changed retrospectively. If the situation was reversed – e.g. being branded a criminal for something done in the past which was legal then, there’d be justifiable outrage.

  2. AR

    Retrospectivity in Law is a very dangerous concept, as MikeB notes, guns, wife beating, child labour or the current cinema hit “12 Years” being good examples although i would love to see Lyons Tea Rooms (if they still existed) and Jardynes being hit for compensation.
    However, I note that the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection) Bill became law a couple of days ago which must mean that Kessing (Customs/Sydney airport)is due a full pardon and possibly recompense.
    Doubt somehow that he’s holding his breath in expectation.

  3. Mark from Melbourne

    Glib comments…

    Let’s always be prepared as people or as a nation to admit where were wrong and make it right no matter the issue.

  4. drsmithy

    I don’t believe gay sex should be a crime but also don’t believe laws should be changed retrospectively. If the situation was reversed – e.g. being branded a criminal for something done in the past which was legal then, there’d be justifiable outrage.

    That’s because you can’t change something you’ve done. Ergo retrospective law in that sense is harmful.

    You can, however, recognise that the law was wrong in the past. This causes no harm in the present and thus is not a similar scenario at all.

  5. Zarathrusta

    Re Glib’s comment:

    I don’t think you would ever undo the fact that someone was convicted. However you can and should remove all records of that conviction once you realise it was an unjust law.

    That is any computer search of someones convictions, should not show this “crimes” as spent or expunged, it should return no result at all.

    Continuing to show them up is continuing harm.

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