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Tasmania is the Latest Australian State to Erase Criminal Convictions Based on Homosexuality

Another section of Australia has now made it so that gay men can erase past convictions against them that are based on their homosexuality.

The Australian state of Tasmania started the process of eliminating these convictions back in 2015, but has taken the long way around. As PinkNews reports, the government took so long that it had to apologize back in 2017.

Now, if any of the 500,000 people living in the state want to see their past convictions or the convictions of their loved ones go away, they can apply to do so.

Of course, these convictions have to be attached to homosexuality, which was decriminalized in Tasmania back in 1997 (it was the last state in the country to do so).

Former Anti-discrimination commissioner Robin Banks spoke on the new legislation.

“We went from being very much behind the eight ball, in terms of attitudes to homosexuality, to, I think, probably the most progressive state, when it comes to our response to homosexuality and to transgender issues.”

“And I think that’s a real testament to everybody who’s been involved in the debate, particularly from the (LGBTIQ) community, reaching across what was a very wide divide.”

Banks also shared the opinion that laws against homosexuality should have never happened.

“It doesn’t hurt anybody,” she said, “It was a victimless crime, and that’s really important thing to remember. And it wasn’t a crime all over the world.”

“It was particularly in common-law countries, so the countries that came out of England (the British empire), where we’ve had this history of criminalizing homosexuality.”

“I really ask people to think, ‘Well, what difference does it make to you if somebody loves a person of the same gender as themself?'”

Tasmania now joins several countries and states that have also erased past convictions concerning homosexuality.

Last week, we shared with you the news that New Zealand had taken the plunge towards this process. Even before that, Germany, the UK, and Canada had done so. As for other Australian states, New South Wales, and Victoria have all removed such convictions.

h/t: PinkNews

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No, South Australia has not expunged the records of men convicted because of homosexual acts.  They have the option of applying for a spent conviction.  A spent conviction is not the same as an expunged record, and they are certainly not equal.  Not all men convicted are even eligible to apply for a spent conviction (or if they did apply it would be denied), and there are some instances when applying for employment where they still must legally disclose the conviction, even if it is considered "spent".  If ones record is expunged however, it is as if the conviction never happened and never can be legally considered again; unfortunately, this is not available to those previously convicted men in South Australia, and given the apathy of the state government and a lack of understanding at what the distinctions and pit-falls between spent and expunged convictions are, I sadly doubt they even will.  Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory have all truly expunged the records, Queensland has passed laws that will take effect by July which will do the same, and Western Australia and the Northern Territory currently have bills in their state/territory parliaments ministers are finalizing that will also completely expunge the convictions.  Soon, South Australia will be the only one left who has not.  
To sum up, a spent conviction is to an expunged record, as a civil union is to marriage equality.

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