MEDIA RELEASE: 21 January, 2014: Expunging sodomy convictions: the other parties start to catch up

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MEDIA RELEASE: 21 January, 2014:

Expunging sodomy convictions: the other parties start to catch up

More than 18 months after the Australian Democrats began calling for the expunging of sodomy convictions, other political parties are starting to catch up, say the Australian Democrats.

National President of the Australian Democrats, Darren Churchill, says it was always a no-brainer that justice was being denied to these men, some of whom are now quite elderly but who have continued to carry this unwarranted criminal record, but asks why it has taken so long for any action to occur.

“Both the Victorian Opposition and Government have promised to do something to make it happen, while the South Australian Government is ahead of them, having quietly passed legislation, albeit somewhat flawed, just last month.

“Although Victoria is behind SA, hopefully they will improve on what has been passed there.

“Of course, we congratulate the South Australian Government for its initiative, but the Spent Convictions (Decriminalised Offences) Amendment Act 2013 falls short because
a) the expungement is not automatic and the person with the criminal record has to apply to the courts for it to be removed, and
b) where there were associated convictions, as for example loitering, the new laws do not envisage the removal of those records.

“Despite the flaws, it is still a positive move, but it is unclear why there has been so little fanfare from the South Australian Government about the passage of these new laws.

“The Victorian legislation should be able to improve on this and make it easier still for these men who essentially became victims of a system of entrenched bigotry.

“There’s talk of legislation in NSW and the ACT, but more than talking is needed.

“We now call on the other states and territories to get on with the job and catch up with the forward thinking of the Australian Democrats,” said Mr Churchill.

Further information:
Darren Churchill
National President
0412  196 473

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