A motion calling on the state government to amend discriminatory age of consent legislation has been passed at the annual conference of the NSW Local Government Association in Broken Hill.
The motion, introduced by councillors from South Sydney, was one of 230 issues considered by the conference delegates. It calls upon the government to revise the NSW Crimes Act in order to equalise the age of consent for male homosexuals.
The deputy mayor of South Sydney, Councillor Peter Furness, told Sydney Star Observer that he had originally wanted the motion to explicitly call for an age of consent set at 16, but that he was happy with the result.
The Democrats do not support an age of consent set at 17; that’s not our position, he said.
Cr Furness said he was pleased to see Labor Party support for the motion.
The Labor councillors caucused and voted in favour. It’s interesting given that the state level of the party refuses to caucus on the issue, he said.
Although an age of consent bill (introduced by Labor MLC Jan Burnswoods) was referred to a committee in September, a similar bill (introduced by Democrat MLC Arthur Chesterfield-Evans) would come before the Legislative Council before the next state election, Cr Furness said.
There is no reason for the state government not to pursue this reform, Furness said. It’s embarrassing for New South Wales to remain the last state, the pariah state.