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Is Tasmania next to expunge gay sex records?
Jan14

Is Tasmania next to expunge gay sex records?

LAST UPDATED // Tuesday, 14 January 2014 13:03 Written by // Cec Busby

Tasmania’s Attorney-General, Brian Wightman, has met with LGBTI rights activist Rodney Croome and the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks, to discuss the process of expunging the records of gay men arrested for consensual sex prior to the decriminalisation of homosexual sex in Tasmania in 1997.

"We are currently undergoing the work that's required to enable that process to be achieved and it may require some legislative change," Wightman told the ABC. "But I can say quite clearly that I am absolutely committed to expunging the criminal records of gay men in Tasmania."

The move has received support across all three major political parties: Opposition Leader Will Hodgman commented in principle he supports what has been proposed.

"We'd certainly want to look at the detail at what's proposed on a pretty complex issue," he said.

Labor and the Greens have already cited support for the proposal.

Croome who was arrested in the 80s for protesting  LGBTI rights at Salamanca markets, said hundreds of gay men had been affected by the law – receiving criminal sentences for a consensual act.

"I want to see those gay men who were arrested under our former anti-gay laws in Tasmania have their criminal record expunged and I also want to see an apology from the State Parliament for the fact that we maintained those awful laws for so long and they caused so much damage," he said.

Croome told the ABC the laws had a terrible legacy.
"They ruined people's lives and it’s time for us to atone for that."

Anti-Discrimnation Commissioner, Robin Banks, weighed in on the subject,  suggesting the fact Tasmania did not decriminalise homosexuality until 1997 could mean many men are still suffering under the impact of the draconian law.

"People are probably quite concerned to not have that kind of record exposed," she said.

However Banks believes expunging the records could be a complicated process.

"It's not as simple as saying let's just expunge all records of a certain type because I guess there are some underlying issues there are a range of criminal convictions that are potentially involved and we need to ensure that we cover the issue of consent."

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Cec Busby

Cec Busby

Cec Busby is the news editor of SX and GayNewsNetwork.com.au.

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