Queensland’s new laws overturning convictions for historic consensual homosexual activity have been officially proclaimed.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said from June 30 Queenslanders convicted of such offences can apply to have them expunged.
“This is an historic day for Queensland and the LGBTIQ community,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“The laws passed by the Palaszczuk Government last year are now ready to be implemented and those convicted under discriminatory laws of the past can apply to have criminal convictions expunged.
“Consensual homosexual activity stopped being a crime in 1991, but many people still live with the harmful legacy of the past legislation.
“A criminal conviction has serious consequences on a person, potentially affecting employment and travel opportunities, not to mention the stigma.”
Under the legislation, the Director-General of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General will be responsible for deciding applications for expungement.
A person can apply to have records expunged for eligible offences if they were charged or convicted under the law, as it stood, before the decriminalisation of consensual adult homosexual activity in Queensland on 19 January 1991.
Mrs D’Ath encouraged those who may be eligible to seek advice and make an application.
“Once a conviction is expunged a person does not need to disclose the offence nor be discriminated against for non-disclosure in their employment or profession,” she said.
“We know this doesn’t make up for previous prejudice and discrimination but it is an important step we can and will take to right these past wrongs,” Mrs D’Ath said.
The legislation sets out the specific criteria for a conviction or charge to be expunged, differing depending on the offence.
The proclamation of the Act comes in the same week the Palaszczuk Government passed laws recognising the existing marriages of people who undertake gender reassignment.
The amendments to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registrations Act 2003 removed a discriminatory and outdated legal restriction which forced Queenslanders who underwent sexual reassignment surgery to divorce their partner to have their gender legally recognised.
For more information on expungement laws and to make an application visit www.justice.qld.gov.au
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath