Archive for the ‘GLBTI’ Category

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

29/04/2014

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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
darren.churchill@australian-democrats.org.au
0412  196 473

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Media Release: 8 January 2013: Send Sodomy Convictions to Buggery!

27/02/2013
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Media Release: 8 January 2013:

Send Sodomy Convictions to Buggery!

The Australian Democrats reiterate their call for state governments to expunge the criminal records of men convicted of sodomy under previous, antiquated laws.

“This is a fundamental civil liberties issue,” Democrats National President Darren Churchill said today.

“Homosexual sexual acts are no longer illegal anywhere in Australia, yet a small cohort of men are burdened with criminal records that can be used to discriminate against them.

“Premiers! Set these men free from the past wrongs done to them!

“We called for these criminal records to be expunged when the UK government magnanimously did so in September last year, yet nothing appears to have been happening in Australia to redress these wrongs.(See:http://www.democrats.org.au/news/index.htm?press_id=6774&display=1)

“I said then: ‘Australian states and territories have an obligation to further redeem the past wrongs imposed by bad laws and enforced by bigots by enacting new spent conviction legislation that erases the criminal record of gay men prior to the decriminalisation of homosexual conduct.’

“This issue remains alive today. It will cost nothing for the states to renounce narrow-mindedness and remedy this wrong,” Mr Churchill concluded.

Media Contact:

Darren Churchill

National President

darren.churchill@democrats.org.au

0412 196 473

Media Release: Wednesday, 26th September, 2012: Australian Democrats say: Expunge the criminal record of Sodomy

05/10/2012
DARREN CHURCHILL
National Campaign Director
darren.churchill@democrats.org.au
Tel: 0412 196 473

Media Release: Wednesday, 26th September, 2012:

Australian Democrats say: Expunge the criminal record of Sodomy

State governments must act to redress a long-standing wrong and expunge the criminal records of men convicted of sodomy under previous, antiquated laws, say the Australian Democrats.

“The stigma of a criminal conviction continues to hang over the lives of these citizens, many of whom are now quite elderly,” Democrats’ National Campaign Director said today. “We have unfinished business to complete here.”

Federal law decriminalised homosexual acts between consenting adults in the ACT in 1973 and South Australia was the first state to decriminalise sex between consenting men in 1975; Tasmania the last in 1997.

The United Kingdom is expunging historic convictions for consensual gay sex with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, which received Royal Assent on 1st May.

UK hyperlink: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/sep/02/home-office-gay-sex-convictions

“The Democrats’ position on this matter is driven by the essential principles of justice, equality and human rights.

“Australian states and territories have an obligation to further redeem the past wrongs imposed by bad laws and enforced by bigots by enacting new spent conviction legislation that erases the criminal record of gay men prior to the decriminalisation of homosexual conduct.

“We are all diminished by forcing many hundreds of gay men to carry this criminal record burden for activities that are now properly accepted as legal by society.” Mr Churchill concluded.

Media contacts:

Darren Churchill

Tel: 0412 196 473

 

David Collyer:

Tel: 0413 248 193

Opposition to gay marriage – same old pathetic excuses

14/08/2010

MEDIA RELEASE: Election 2010: Saturday, 14th August 2010

Opposition to gay marriage – same old pathetic excuses

Bigoted comments by right-wing Christians simply add credibility to the campaign being waged for same-sex marriage say the Australian Democrats.

The Australian Democrats’ lead candidate in the ACT, Darren Churchill, says that he will be proud to be attending the Same Sex Marriage protest rally in Petrie Plaza today and making a stand against their zealotry.

“It seems that every day we hear the shrill statements of one or another of these fundamentalists. Earlier in the week the lead Family First candidate in Queensland immortalised herself by claiming that legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse.

“By Thursday we heard the blatant arrogance of the Australian Family Association saying that the Federal Government should provide cash bonuses to people who get married, but that should never apply to same sex couples.

“Contrary to what these scared people believe, the world would not fall apart if the Marriage Act allowed for legal same-sex marriage. It has happened without calamity in various places around the world and the Democrats have previously introduced legislation to this end.

“Unfortunately the leaders of these fundamentalist groups excel in the politics of hatred and fear.

“But examine the claims they make such as homosexuality being a lifestyle choice and it becomes very clear that they are misleading.

“Why would someone choose to be vilified, abused, insulted and assaulted as a lifestyle choice?

“Same sex attracted people are fully-fledged human beings, and not a sub-class. They deserve the same rights and respect as every other human being, and to be judged on their merits, such as their human-kindness, just as the Christian bigots should be,” said Mr Churchill.

Further comment:

Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats Senate candidate for the ACT

Tel: 0412 196 473

Democrats release GLBTI action plan

09/08/2010

MEDIA RELEASE: Election 2010: 9th August 2010

Democrats release GLBTI action plan

The Australian Democrats are proud and loud about releasing their action plan for GLBTI people.

Lead Senate candidate for the Democrats in NSW, Fiona Clancy, who is a lesbian, says that GLBTI people would have a real champion in parliament if they put us back in the Senate.

“My first step would be to introduce a human rights charter that enshrines the right of equality under the law for GLBTI people.

“While both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard have baulked at recognising same sex marriage, with such a charter in place there would be no need to even have that argument” said Ms Clancy.

Tim Neal, the no.2 Senate candidate in Tasmania and a gay man, attacked laws that effectively entrench discrimination. “It is therefore not surprising to find that approximately 25% of gays aged between 16 and 24 will attempt suicide”.

Gay man, Mark Carey, and candidate for the seat Indi in Victoria, says the party believes it is important to develop a national health plan for GLBTI people.

“The health statistics show that same-sex attracted people are far more likely than heterosexuals to experience homelessness, use drugs, have chronic health conditions or experience depression.

Jen Mitchell, a lesbian and the no.2 Senate candidate in NSW says that the action plan is forward thinking in that it deals with GLBTI people and ageing issues.

“We want residential aged care facilities to recognise GLBTI people as a special needs group so that couples can share rooms together by right and not by fight” said Ms Mitchell.

“Three decades ago the Democrats began fighting in parliament for a fair go for GLBTI people, including the introduction of legislation for same sex marriage. We have a proud history and a strong belief that all Australians have a right to equality under the law,” said Ms Clancy.

Further comment: Fiona Clancy, phone 0451 822 192

Tim Neal, phone 0413 535 502

Mark Carey, phone 0418542070