THE office of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner is seeking submissions after releasing a discussion paper on the treatment of convictions for consensual sexual activity between adult males.

The results of the discussion paper’s submissions could lead to Tasmania legislating laws that would expunge historical convictions of consensual gay conduct between men before it was decriminalised in 1997.

To read the discussion paper in full, click here

The state’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks said the legacy of an era in which homosexual acts were outlawed is something some Tasmanians still live with today.

“Some have been carrying the knowledge of their conviction with them for many years and it is appropriate that we now examine ways in those and related convictions can be permanently disregarded,” she said.

“This paper sets out the legal framework in which these convictions need to be understood. The issues are complex and require careful consideration.

“It is important that any process removes the continuing effect of conviction for actions that is no longer illegal, whilst ensuring that convictions for acts that remain unlawful are retained.”

The discussion paper consists of consultation questions, background information on the law, options for “disregarding” past convictions, and more.

It has also been released just weeks after Victoria and NSW passed laws that expunged historical consensual gay sex convictions in their states.

New Zealand is also en route to expunge similar convictions after the country’s new Justice Minister last week announced she would look into it, effectively putting the issue back on the agenda after it was shelved earlier in the year.

Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner office invites written comments from Tasmanians and anyone around Australia affected by the Tasmanian laws by Friday, November 28. Submissions can be emailed to antidiscrimination@justice.tas.gov.au, with an attached Word document and with subject line: Historic Convictions Discussion Paper. Unless confidentiality is sought, submissions will be made public online. Click here for full details

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