A new Victorian scheme to expunge historical convictions for homosexual activity will come into effect today.
The scheme applies to past sexual and public morality offences such as buggery, gross indecency with a male and offensive behaviour, that once criminalised consensual homosexuality.
An individual can make a confidential application to the Secretary of the Department of Justice and Regulation to have their conviction or finding of guilt for a historical homosexual offence expunged. If the convicted person has died, an appropriate representative can apply on behalf of the deceased, to clear their name.
Following a conviction being expunged, police, prosecution and court records will be cleared of the offence, and electronic records amended or deleted. The historical conviction will no longer show up on a police records check.
A person with an expunged conviction may legally claim not to have been convicted or found guilty of that offence, is not required to disclose that conviction or finding of guilt for any purpose, and cannot be denied a job or position due to that conviction or finding of guilt
Discrimination on the basis of an expunged historical homosexual conviction will also be prohibited under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.
The Andrews Labor Government has committed to a formal state apology for the unjust and prejudiced laws against homosexual acts prior to decriminalisation in March 1981.
The Labor Government congratulates the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex (LGBTI) community, including the Human Rights Law Centre and the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, on their tireless work to right the wrongs caused by these past discriminatory laws.
Further information about the scheme and application forms is available to download from the Department of Justice and Regulation website: www.justice.vic.gov.au/expungementscheme.
Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula
“These offences should never have been a crime. The expungement scheme will right historical wrongs and free individuals from unjustly wearing a criminal record.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Equality Martin Foley
“For the Andrews Labor Government, equality is not negotiable. We are righting this historical wrong as an important step along the path to eliminating stigma for LGBTI Victorians.”