AS Queensland moves to expunge historical gay sex convictions, the state government has said it won’t wipe charges for people convicted of anal sex offences before the age of consent was lowered to 16.

The Palaszczuk government last month apologised to the hundreds of Queenslanders who were convicted for gay sex before the law was changed in 1991.

The age of consent for “sodomy” was lowered last year from 18 to 16, in line with the general age of consent, following lobbying by LGBTI rights groups.

The government has stated that people convicted of sodomy offences between 1991 and last year will not have their records expunged, Brisbane Times has reported.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the new bill to wipe historical convictions will retain the age of consent of 18, which was the law when gay sex was decriminalised.

“This retains the expungement scheme’s nexus with the decriminalisation of consensual adult homosexual activity and confirms that the scheme is only applicable to homosexual charges and convictions,” said D’Ath when introducing the bill.

Justice and Attorney-General Department principal legal officer Sarah Kay reiterated on Wednesday that the expungements will not cover convictions between 1991 and 2016.

“The age of consent changes at various times in different jurisdictions for various reasons but this bill isn’t actually addressing differences in the age of consent, it’s addressing the decriminalisation of homosexuality,” she said.

“If we extended the scheme up to 2016 it would encompass people who may perhaps actually be currently serving sentences of imprisonment.

“We could exclude heterosexual convictions but that may be unfair.”

Under the new bill, people convicted of gay sex offences before 1991 can apply to have their convictions wiped.

The bill is still before a parliamentary committee.

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