Homosexual Convictions The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:56:13): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, representing the Attorney-General, a question about past homosexual convictions.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Last November South Australia became the first jurisdiction in Australia to take the important step of clearing the convictions of people with historical homosexual offences with the passage of the Spent Convictions (Decriminalised Offences) Amendment Act 2013. This was a welcome change and it came decades after homosexuality was decriminalised in 1975 in our state.
However, when South Australia voted through this historic legislation at the end of November last year, we heard hardly a peep from this government; so little, in fact, that when Victoria passed similar legislation expunging past homosexual convictions recently this year some members in that place congratulated each other on becoming the first Australian jurisdiction to do so. In fact, it was widely reported in the media that Victoria had been the first state to do so, and this was something South Australia should have been claiming very proudly.
While fixing the law is a major step, and a very welcome one, those who have now lived with these convictions on their official record have no doubt suffered hardship as a result for many decades, particularly in relation to employment, and there is more to be done. A formal apology and greater recognition should have been extended to those who suffered as a result of this discriminatory law. My questions to had Attorney are:
1. Why, unlike other jurisdictions, didn’t the state government make it widely known that our parliament was taking the historic step of clearing these criminal convictions from the official reports on 22 December 2013?
2. Has the government—and how has it done so—acknowledged the hardship and discrimination that has been suffered by those who were convicted and jailed for consensual sexual activities prior to 1975?
3. Given that next year is a proud date in the South Australian history books—the proud event of the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in our state—will a formal apology and other recognition be made to those who have suffered hardship and discrimination?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers) ( 14:58 :40 ): I thank the honourable member for her most important questions and will refer them to the Attorney-General in another place and bring back a response.