Queensland has voted in favor of lowering the age limit for having consensual anal sex from 18 years to 16 years.
With this, Queensland has also been listed as a state in Australia to have the same age limit for both anal sexual activity as well as other sexual acts. Prior to this, it was the only state across the nation to have a different age of consent for different sexual activities. The news has come as a surprise for the LGBT community as the Labor Government has finally put an end to the “archaic” legislation against them.
The Labor members, along with the Independent leaders, voted to pass the proposal on Thursday night. Opposition MPS also participated in the voting to remove the long-term discrimination and “sodomy” in Queensland’s Criminal Code. The LNP members, however, did not take part in the voting for the proposals. Only two Aussie MPs, Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth, opposed the amendment.
The voting came following a meeting in May 2016 where a group of health experts considered making changes to the Criminal Code and advocated lowering the minimum age for consensual anal intercourse and bringing the age to the same limit as other sexual activities. The consideration was made keeping in mind the improvement of the sexual health of the Queensland population.
Health Minister Cameron Dick said that the decision will contribute to the protection of the health of the youth, thereby putting an end to the injustice done to several Queenslanders. “The expert panel considered that the current laws may lead to people feeling compelled to withhold information about their sexual history from health practitioners,” he said as quoted by Brisbane Times.
“This may be because they fear possible legal consequences for themselves or their partner. Withholding this information could have serious implications for a young person’s medical treatment, particularly as unprotected anal intercourse is the highest risk behavior for transmission of HIV.”