New laws have passed NSW Parliament which allow a person convicted of a historical homosexual offence to have the conviction extinguished, NSW Premier Mike Baird and Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith announced today.
The Criminal Records Amendment (Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill 2014 was introduced into NSW Parliament by Mr Notley-Smith.
“The new laws are long overdue and recognise the hurt and anguish experienced by those who in past years were convicted of consensual homosexual acts that are now no longer criminal offences,” Mr Baird said.
“In NSW homosexual activity was a criminal offence until 1984 when consensual homosexual activity for people over the age of 18 years was decriminalised.
“In 2003 the age of consent for homosexual activity was reduced from 18 to 16 years.
“At the time some people who engaged in consensual homosexual activity between adults were charged and convicted and it is deeply unfair they have had to deal with the stigma of a criminal conviction.
“Such a conviction can constrain a person’s employment and volunteering opportunities and restrict travel options – that is unjust and why we have made this change.
“I pay tribute to Bruce Notley-Smith for bringing this important issue before the Parliament.”
Under the change those with convictions will be able to apply to have the historical homosexual offence conviction extinguished.
Once this occurs the person will no longer have to disclose the conviction. It will not form part of their criminal history and a public authority will not be able to disclose the conviction.
Mr Notley-Smith has thanked all Members of Parliament who voted to make this historic reform a reality.
“I am very proud that today the NSW Parliament has supported my important Private Member’s bill to allow for the extinguishment of historical homosexual offences between consenting adults.” Mr Notley-Smith said.
“For several months now I have been working with colleagues, community representatives and the Attorney-General and his department to produce the Criminal Records Amendment (Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill 2014.
“I would like to thank all those who have assisted me drafting this historic bill.”