Post- Homosexual Convictions Apology

Post-Homosexual Convictions Apology

Legislative council

May 24, 2016

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:07 :17 ): I seek leave to make brief explanation before asking the Minister for Employment, representing the Premier, a question about an apology to those who have been treated as criminals for being gay.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: As many members would be aware, today the Victorian parliament will formally apologise to victims of the unjust laws which criminalised particularly men, but all people, for their sexuality. I welcome this apology and note that Victoria was a leader in progressing spent convictions of previous homosexual convictions. I note that this state parliament has also passed similar legislation. In the last, dying days of the previous parliament we saw such legislation passed through this place.

When the Governor outlined a vision for South Australia at the beginning of this parliament, I wrote to the Premier noting that I was very pleased that his government will invite the South Australian Law Reform Institute to review legislative or regulatory discrimination against individuals and families on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or intersex status.

I drew to his attention the topic that had been brought to me by constituents of an apology for past homosexual convictions. Specifically in that letter dated 11 February 2015 I note that I wanted to draw the Premier's attention to the Spent Convictions (Decriminalised Offences) Amendment Act 2013 which had successfully passed through both houses of parliament. I asked him at that time to note that while fixing the law was a major step in the right direction, would he consider a formal apology be extended to those who have suffered for decades as a result of this discriminatory law. I received a piece of correspondence from the Premier's correspondence unit on 17 February 2015 noting my correspondence and stating that, 'Your letter is currently receiving attention.'

I have received no further correspondence on this issue. My question to the minister, for the Premier, is: will he take the leadership, as Premier Andrews has done, and make a formal apology to those convicted of homosexual acts in the past?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) ( 15:09 :52 ): I thank the honourable member for her important question. I note the proud tradition South Australia has in terms of law reform, being the first state in the commonwealth to decriminalise homosexuality, and the many other firsts that South Australia has in relation to many progressive issues. In response to this specific question, I will be very happy to take that to the Premier and seek a reply to bring back for the honourable member.


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