Tasmania Passes Laws To Expunge Historical Gay Sex Convictions


Gay and transgender Tasmanians with historical homosexual convictions will have them expunged after landmark legislation passed the state’s Upper House.

On Wednesday the Legislative Council unanimously passed the government’s Expungement of Historical Offences Bill, first introduced in April. It would allow a person charged with a historical homosexual or cross-dressing offence to apply to have the charge or conviction removed from their criminal record.

Veteran Tasmanian LGBTI rights campaigner Rodney Croome (pictured) said the passage of the laws and the apologies delivered by politicians on all sides were “deeply moving and an important moment of healing” for many Tasmanians.

“Gay and transgender Tasmanians who were convicted under our awful former laws will no longer have to endure the stigma and disadvantage of having a criminal record,” he said.

Before Tasmania became the last state in Australia to decriminalise homosexuality in 1997, all consensual sexual activity between men carried a maximum penalty of 21 years in prison. Tasmania was also the only Australian state to criminalise cross-dressing.

In April, Tasmanian Liberal Premier Will Hodgman apologised to LGBTI people charged under the state’s historical anti-gay laws.

“Despite the repeal of homosexual offences, some men continue to have criminal records that affect their lives including work, volunteering and travelling. It’s something they have to live with every day,” he said.

“My government is seeking to remedy this as far as possible through this legislation, and it’s our view that the broader Tasmanian community would believe that people should never have been charged or convicted in the first place.

“We can’t change the past, nor can we undo that harm. We can apologise for it and we do so.”

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