QUEENSLAND’S Attorney-General has said there are no plans to allow expungement of historical gay sex convictions in the state, despite expungement legislation passing in Victorian Parliament earlier this week, and NSW Parliament’s lower house today.

History was made in Victoria on Tuesday when both houses of parliament voted in favour of a bipartisan bill to remove the criminal records of people convicted of homosexual sex when the act was still illegal in the state before 1981.

Similar legislation has been introduced via a private members bill from Liberal Party MP Bruce Notley-Smith in New South Wales parliament, passing the lower house today.

However, there are no such plans underway in Queensland and the call to follow other states and quash criminal records is not considered a priority by the state’s Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie.

“Any decision on this would need to be considered and approved by cabinet and there are currently no plans to bring it to cabinet,” a spokesman for the Attorney-General told the Star Observer.

The spokesperson pointed out that the Newman government’s priorities are focused elsewhere.

“The government’s priorities are lowering the cost of living for families, growing a four pillar economy and tackling crimes such as organised crime, drugs, domestic and drunken violence,” they said.

LGBTI community advocate Phil Browne has said he cannot see any reason why the Queensland LNP government is not following the example set by other Coalition-led states.

“These past convictions under a law that is no longer in place can impact on people’s lives in areas including employment and possibly impinge on the ability to travel freely between countries,” Brown told the Star Observer.

“This law was removed 23 years ago next month and it is only fair and just that these past convictions should also be removed.

“It is appropriate that our government follow the lead of Victoria’s conservative government and similar moves currently underway in NSW.”

Browne praised the Victorian government and opposition for supporting the bill and urged Queensland’s government to modernise its laws.

“Thanks to cross-party support this bill introduced by a conservative member was passed — congratulations to Victoria and I hope NSW’s effort is equally as successful,” Browne said.

“It would be great to see our government follow suit.”

Queensland’s opposition have opened the door to enacting similar legislation to expunge past convictions, depending on the outcome of consultation with the Queensland Reform Commission and the outcome of next year’s state election.

“Given that both consensual and non-consensual matters could be covered by the same offences, a Queensland Labor government would refer the issue to the Queensland Law Reform Commission for its appropriateness of making this change to the law and, if so, how it should be effected,” an opposition spokesperson told the Star Observer.

“[Queensland Labor is] supportive contingent on advice from the law reform commission.”

In 2012 a Federal Senate inquiry found all state and territory governments should investigate means to quash past convictions of laws that were decriminalised across the country, with Tasmania being the last state to decriminalise homosexual sex in 1997.

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