Queensland to catch up on age of consent laws for anal sex

May 25 2016 – 6:38AM

Amy Remeikis

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After decades of inaction, the Palaszczuk Labor Government will introduce legislation to standardise the age of consent, bringing an end to one of the State’s most discriminatory laws.

Under current legislation, the age of consent for vaginal sex is 16, but anal sex, which is still referred to as sodomy under the Criminal Code, remains illegal until a person is 18.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's government will bring in legislation to standardise the age of consent.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government will bring in legislation to standardise the age of consent.  Photo: Bradley Kanaris

It has meant that teenagers, particularly young gay men, have had issues accessing safe sexual practice information, with practitioners forced to inform those seeking information on anal sex, about the illegality of the act.

Queensland is the only jurisdiction where the ages of consent are different and Health Minister Cameron Dick said following advice from an expert panel, it was the only course of action the government could take.

“By making this change, we are addressing the disparity between the age of consent for penetrative sex, which has resulted in adverse consequences for young people in this state,” he said.

“It is clear that inconsistent age of consent laws act as a barrier to young people accessing safe sexual health information. It is time that Queensland modernised its framework.”

Along with that modernisation comes a groundbreaking step, with the government releasing its draft Sexual Health Strategy, a first for Australia, which aims to provide better information regarding sexual health and contraceptive options, as well as having better medical services, with improved training for sexual health workers, Mr Dick said the strategy would “support and improve” the sexual health of Queenslanders and built on the work already being done in the sphere, as well as provide education on sexuality itself and improve service access.

The last time the State ventured into its citizen’s bedrooms to change laws regarding consensual sexual conduct was in 1990, when the Goss Government passed legislation overturning homosexuality as an offence.

But the age of consent disparity remained, with a growing number of LGBTIQ advocates, health workers and educators lobbying successive governments to standardise the law, pointing to it as a continued discrimination against the State’s gay community, and proving potentially dangerous for young people seeking information.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath announced the government intended on examining the issue during last year’s Estimates hearings.  Almost a year later, Mr Dick’s legislation, expected to be introduced into parliament on Wednesday, will work to right a wrong almost three decades in the making.

 

Source : Brisbane Times

Annastacia Palaszczuk scorns Tim Carmody and Margaret McMurdo

May 8, 2015 – 11:02AM

Amy Remeikis

Queensland state political reporter

Denise Morcombe, with husband Bruce, is "disgusted" with the fighting.

Denise Morcombe, with husband Bruce, is “disgusted” with the fighting. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has told the state’s judiciary to “sort their issues out now’ as the feud between the Chief Justice and the state’s top judges continues to spill into the public.

Various media outlets have published emails between Chief Justice Tim Carmody and President of the Court of Appeal Margaret McMurdo, showing the continued animosity between the pair after they were tendered to the Court of Appeal on Thursday.

Founder of child protection group Bravehearts Hetty Johnston.

Founder of child protection group Bravehearts Hetty Johnston. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

It is the latest chapter in the ongoing dispute between Justice Carmody and key members of the judiciary who have railed against what they consider the Chief Justice’s unsuitability for the role and closeness with the former LNP government.

Ms Palaszczuk, who has shied away from commenting on the dispute, said it was beyond time it was resolved.

“In relation to the courts, there is separation of powers, but obviously there are serious issues down there and they need to resolve them,” she said on Friday morning.

Chief Justice Tim Carmody.

Chief Justice Tim Carmody. Photo: Daniel Hurst

“I think it is a matter for them to sort out, but I think the public would share our views that it needs to be sorted out now.

“I met with the Morcombes yesterday, they have been through a lot. I think they want closure.”

The emails discussed Justice McMurdo’s concerns regarding Justice Carmody’s meeting with leading child safety advocate Hetty Johnston ahead of the appeal of Daniel Morcombe’s convicted killer Brett Peter Cowan.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is concerned by ructions within the legal community.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is concerned by ructions within the legal community. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

The meeting was publicly declared in Justice Carmody’s diary and was also attended by an independent third party.

But late last month, Cowan’s lawyers announced their intention to file an application to have Justice Carmody disqualified from hearing their client’s appeal.

On Thursday, Justice Carmody took the extraordinary step of withdrawing from the appeal hearing, saying he would not allow the court to become a “Dickensian bleak house”.

Denise Morcombe, who with husband Bruce have been waiting for the outcome of the appeal since November last year, took to social media to express her anger at the delays.

“Shame in the legal process, this has become [personal], this is NOT JUSTICE FOR DANIEL,” she wrote.

“Shame on you all. I am disgusted.”

 

The Brisbane Times

Channel Country Aborigines take mining frustrations to the United Nations

December 4, 2014 – 12:00AM

Tony Moore

brisbanetimes.com.au senior reporter

Scott Gorringe with his son Todd in the land over which Mithaka has a Native Title claim.

Scott Gorringe with his son Todd in the land over which Mithaka has a Native Title claim. Photo: The Wilderness Society

Queensland Channel Country Aborigines say they are so frustrated with a lack of communication with Mines Minister Andrew Cripps they are taking their concerns over oil and coal seam gas fracking to the United Nations.

They have prepared a detailed submission of their concerns to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People.

That submission will be made on Thursday.

Aborigines are seeking UN help to fight fracking in the western Queensland Channel Country.

Aborigines are seeking UN help to fight fracking in the western Queensland Channel Country. Photo: The Wilderness Society

It is the second time in two years an arm of the United Nations has been asked to investigate the impact of Queensland Government policies, after UNESCO began investigations into the Great Barrier Reef in 2013.

Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples asks that “states” consult with indigenous people, to obtain their “free, prior and informed consent” before taking action which could affect them.

The Mithaka people have claim over five million hectares of Channel Country land in the Cooper Creek basin near the Queensland-South Australia border.

Fears for both the above-ground water and subterranean water health of the Channel region are held.

Fears for both the above-ground water and subterranean water health of the Channel region are held. Photo: The Wilderness Society

Exploration leases for oil and coal seam gas cover 1.7 million hectares (roughly a third) of this land and the majority of those oil and coal seam gas leases in the Channel Country are held by mining company Santos.

The Mithaka people say Queensland’s third-largest oil spill – 240,000 litres of oil from Santos’s Zeus Mine on May 15, 2013 in the Cooper Basin – received very little scrutiny.

They are worried a similar oil spill from a well during the wet season could spread quickly through the Cooper Creek Basin to Lake Eyre and could impact the Great Artesian Basin.

Scott Gorringe is the youngest of 11 brothers and sisters from the Gorringe family, traditional land owners of the Mithaka people’s land in the Channel Country.

He also holds a Masters in Rural Systems Management and has held positions as Visiting Fellow at Queensland University of Technology and Adjunct Senior Lecturer at University of Queensland.

“My dad, Bill Gorringe, is from that country and my grandmother – his mother Nunklea – is from that country,” he said.

“Dad was born on country on a property named Glengyle and we’ve always grown up on that country and connected to those stories.”

Scott Gorringe says Aboriginal people in the Channel Country do not want oil or gas mining in their country.

“There is strong agreement that we don’t want coal seam gas or shale gas operations anywhere near that country or anywhere near those flood plains,” he said.

Mr Gorringe said the Mithaka people have repeatedly tried to speak to the Queensland Government and to Mines Minister Andrew Cripps.

“We have tried to be in touch with the government through email contacts and through letters to try to get them to have a conversation with us,” he said.

“And they have ignored us.”

Mr Gorringe said Mr Cripps did not include him on the Western Rivers Advisory Panel (WRAP), when he had been on the previous Wild Rivers Advisory Panel.

“This fella, this Minister Cripps has been really devious about the way they have interpreted that,” he said referring to a news story in Queensland Country Life where Minister Cripps told readers he was still on the consultation group, when he had not been included.

“He knew that, he set it all up.”

Mr Gorringe said there was now a wide cross-section of Aboriginal people in Queensland who believe Mr Cripps has not consulted with them.

Mr Cripps was given responsibility for developing future growth in the Western Rivers region and the Lake Eyre basin after the March 2012 election.

The organisation guiding growth in the region, the Western Rivers Advisory Panel, reported in its 2013 annual report that consultation needed to be much wider.

In recommendation 5; it specifically asked for three tighter controls over mining activities where they could impact the Great Artesian Basin;

  • “that the Great Artesian Basin recharge areas should be protected from the cumulative effects of mining.”
  • “that mining activity should not be authorised if it has the potential to reduce/interfere with natural flows.”
  • “that mining requirements must include no interference of flows to major rivers, major tributaries and floodplains.”

A spokesman for Mr Cripps said the Queensland Government acknowledged some people in the community had concerns in relation to potential resources development and the sustainable use of water in the Channel Country.

“There is also a clear desire amongst a number of community leaders and local residents in the same region for economic development and job opportunities,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman said the Mithaka people’s Native Title claim has not yet been determined and disputed that there had been no communication between the Minister and the Mithaka people.

“The Queensland Government has notified the relevant Native Title applicant of proposed activities through their legal representative,” the spokesman said.

He said the Western Rivers consultation process involved equal representation from those concerned about the environment, from indigenous representatives, councils, graziers and the resources sector.

“Oil and gas activity has occurred in this part of Queensland since the 1960s, providing valuable employment opportunities and economic activity that supported local communities,” the spokesman said.

“The resources sector has co-existed with indigenous, grazing and tourism interests for many, many years and we strongly believe that it can and will continue to do so.”

The spokesman said Santos provided advice on the May 2013 oil spill to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

“Santos provided the findings of its investigation to the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate, including recommendations to review its standard oil well designs and operating procedures,” the spokesman said.

“The Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate has made recommendations for further improvement and the investigation was closed.”

Scott Gorringe now lives and works as an educator in Canberra with his own company calledMurrimatters.

He says the Mithaka people have not been consulted, despite their long-held objections to oil and gas mining.

“None of the Mithaka people were involved in it,” he said.

“I am the representative to speak on behalf of all that mob out there.

“Nobody has spoken to me and I can’t get an audience with them.”

He points to a quote from Queensland Premier Campbell Newman on October 5, 2011 when he promised to put Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people “in the driver’s seat” in listening to their views on traditional lands.

“Not only are we not in the driver’s seat, we aren’t even in the car,” Mr Gorringe said.

“We are now forced to use international law to protect our rights.”

 

Source : The Brisbane Times

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s mobile phone number and address published

November 4, 2013 – 8:23AM

Tony Moore and Marissa Calligeros

Premier Campbell Newman and his wife Lisa received harassing phone calls at the weekend after their mobile phone numbers and home address were listed on a social media site.

The security breach has caused escalating tension within the Premier’s family, given that information may have landed in the hands of outlaw motorcycle gangs.

The personal information was posted on a social media site linked to motorcycle groups in Australia.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and his wife Lisa.Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and his wife Lisa.

Fairfax Media has elected not to identify the sites.

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Mr Newman and his wife are understood to have received prank phone calls on Sunday, upsetting the family.

The security breach was condemned by a spokesman for the Premier on Sunday night.

“This breach of the Premier’s privacy is concerning and regrettable,” the spokesman said.

“It is particularly distasteful given it involves the Premier’s family.”

The nature of the security breach was bought to the Premier’s attention by Fairfax Media on Sunday.

Fairfax Media understands the mobile phone numbers and address were copied by an employee at a Brisbane car dealership when the Newman family’s car was serviced in August.

The employee posted the details on their personal Facebook page on August 15.

Despite removing them soon after, the Premier’s personal details were shared with a social media site linked to motorcycle clubs.

It is understood the employee at the car dealership wrote a letter of apology to the Premier, but was not sacked or reprimanded.

Comment is being sought from the car dealership.

Police Minister Jack Dempsey said sharing Mr Newman’s details the second time constituted “disgusting, gutless attacks”.

“That particular matter came to our attention a couple of months ago,” Mr Dempsey said Monday morning.

“And certain actions have taken place.”

Meanwhile, police are investigating a YouTube video directed at the Premier purportedly posted by international cyber hacker group Anonymous.

The video, which criticises the government’s controversial new anti-association laws, has been viewed more than 100,000 times since it was posted last Thursday.

The four-and-a-half minute clip ends with the words: “We do not forgive, we do not forget. Campbell Newman expect us.’’

However, the clip’s creator says the line is not a veiled threat to the Premier, but rather a twist on Anonymous’ famous sign off: “We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us”.

‘‘ … they used our motto “expect us” and turned it into a threat … ok, so what did i threaten to do? lol,’’ the creator’s unedited response on YouTube reads.

‘‘i [sic] have never hurt anyone nor has anyone i [sic] associate with, but, we are watching, and he can expect his lies to be made public.’’

The YouTube clip features an activist wearing a Guy Fawkes mask – the symbol of the Anonymous movement – speaking in a computerised voice.

‘‘There are cases where normal people on motorbikes have been harassed, searched and investigated for nothing more than riding a motorcycle,’’ the message says.

‘‘The bill has already been used against everyday people like you and me …Campbell Newman has gone too far.’’

The footage used appears identical to that used in other YouTube videos posted by Anonymous activists in the US.

Police are investigating the video but have refused to comment on the legitimacy of any threat.

‘‘The Queensland Police Service is aware of and investigating an online message from an anonymous source directed at the Premier of Queensland Campbell Newman,’’ police said in a statement.

‘‘As the matter is currently under investigation it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further.’’

Anonymous, a loosely associated international network of activists and hackers, is known for highly publicised cyber-attacks around the world since it was established in 2003.

In 2012, Time magazine called Anonymous one of the “100 most influential people” in the world.

Mr Dempsey said the ” gutless” Anonymous video was already being investigated thoroughly by police.

“They’re just gutless cowards, They have to hide behind a mask.”

The Brisbane Times

Coalition election campaign in Brisbane

August 20, 2013 – 12:01AM

Tony Moore

brisbanetimes.com.au senior reporter

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman speaking in state parliament.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman. Photo: Harrison Saragossi/File photo

The Coalition will hold its federal election campaign launch in Brisbane on Sunday as it officially begins its bid to wrest power from the Kevin Rudd-led Labor Party.

 

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has been invited to the event, although it is unclear what his role at the launch will be.

 

Mr Newman had a high profile at the Coalition launch in Brisbane in 2007, when he introduced prime minister John Howard, and in 2010 when he welcomed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

 

It's unclear what role Campbell Newman will play in the Coalition's Queensland election launch on Sunday.

It’s unclear what role Campbell Newman will play in the Coalition’s Queensland election launch on Sunday.

 

Mr Newman was Brisbane’s lord mayor at those launches, but has since then led the LNP to a thumping victory in the March 2012 Queensland election.

 

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However, the ALP is now deliberately exploiting Mr Newman’s 14,000 public servant jobs cuts  in its campaign, insisting he has gone ‘‘too fast, too far’’ on giant billboards around the city.

 

Mr Abbott has also promised an audit of federal government expenditure – similar to the Peter Costello-chaired Commission of Audit that has shaped Queensland since the LNP won office and sparked the job cuts.

 

Traditionally National Party leader Warren Truss, the Coalition’s would-be deputy prime minister, introduces Mr Abbott to the stage at a campaign launch.

 

A spokesman confirmed Mr Newman had been invited but said the ‘‘running order’’ for Sunday’s launch had not been finalised.

 

The latest Newspoll released Monday shows the LNP has a 54 per cent to 46 per cent, two-party-preferred lead over Labor.

 

The Newspoll also shows Mr Abbott gaining – but still behind Mr Rudd – as preferred prime minister at 41 to 43.

 

Labor holds just eight of Queensland’s 30 federal seats, the LNP holds 21 seats, and Bob Katter holds Kennedy as an independent.

 

Labor needs to hold all its Queensland seats and make inroads into the marginal Coalition-held seats including Brisbane – held by Teresa Gambaro – with a 1.1 per cent margin, Forde (1.6 per cent), Longman (1.9 per cent), Herbert (near Cairns, 2.2 per cent), Dawson (near Mackay, 2.4 per cent), Bonner 2.8 per cent and Flynn (near Gladstone, 3.6 per cent).

 

Mr Howard will visit Brisbane on Tuesday to help boost Ms Gambaro’s profile in the seat of Brisbane.

 

Brisbane is the LNP’s most vulnerable Queensland seat, while across the Brisbane River is Labor’s most vulnerable seat, Moreton, also with a 1.1 per cent margin.

 

Ms Gambaro has held the seat since the 2010 election, but was the Coalition MP for the seat of Petrie from 1996 to 2007 during the Howard government.

 

Moreton has been held by MP Graham Perrett since 2007, when Mr Rudd became prime minister.

 

Brisbane Times