Homosexual law reform in Australia


Over recent years there has been a great deal of discussion concerning the appropriate role of the state in the regulation of private lives. Nowhere is this discussion more obvious than in the area of homosexual law reform.

At times, in both Queensland and Tasmania, an acrimonious public debate has occurred as a result of attempts to reform the laws relating to homosexual behaviour. Queensland has already passed legislation reforming its laws, and Tasmania, the last state or territory in Australia with strict legislation criminalising homosexual acts between consenting males, is expected to make similar changes in 1991.

This Trends and Issues examines the community's response to homosexual law reform and towards homosexuals generally. It is clear that even with law reform, significant discrimination still exists towards those who identify with the gay community.

The upsurge in public violence and discrimination against homosexuals is a deplorable feature of contemporary urban life. It reaffirms the need to monitor laws and social practices in this area continually.