Annerley Labor supports Criminal Code change
The Annerley Branch has joined growing appeals for the Queensland Government to update the criminal code, ensuring that language used excludes wording such as “maintaining a relationship with a child” and other archaic terms. Instead, advocates for change suggest that the code should simply and clearly state the offence.
Currently, Queensland is one of four Australian jurisdictions that still uses ‘maintaining’ or ‘engaging’ in a ‘sexual relationship’ in their criminal code. Queensland also includes terms such as “carnal knowledge of a child under 16”, which does not reflect modern language usage.
Advocates for change argue that a child cannot give consent and using ‘softened’ wording does not reflect the gravity of the crime. Instead, it feeds into victim-blaming attitudes, eases the conscience of perpetrators and gives license to characterise abuse as ‘romance’. The continued use of archaic language is also viewed euphemistic, hiding how harmful these offences are to victims and survivors.
The Branch has formally written to Queensland’s Attorney-General, Shannon Fentiman MP, expressing support for the changes.
Action on identity documentation urged
The Annerley Branch has called on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to implement the Party Platform on the issuing of birth certificates for transgender and gender diverse individuals in full, and before the end of 2022.
In 2015, the Queensland ALP State Conference amended the Platform to reform the way identity documents are issued to individuals who change their legally recognised gender, or who are intersex. Specifically, the Platform states that Labor will remove the requirement for transgender and gender diverse individuals to undergo surgical intervention in order for State Government-issued identity documents to ‘accurately reflect their gender identity’.
However, the Queensland State Government is yet to implement this crucial and overdue area of law reform. Supporters of reform cite that a transgender or gender diverse person without access to identity documents, which affirm their gender identity, is likely to experience increased difficulty finding employment, applying for housing and where providing legal identification is required.
Currently, in Victoria, only a statement of good faith is required from a person who has witnessed the individual living as their affirmed gender for more than 12 months. This system is also available to transgender youth with parental consent. Advocates believe that the Victorian system has worked well and would be a suitable model for Queensland.
Members survey reveals top priorities
The 2022 annual members survey, conducted by the Annerley Branch, has revealed three top issues for the new Albanese government to tackle in its first term.
Topping the list of responses was action on climate change, with most members citing this issue as the most pressing for the new government. True to its word, however, the Albanese government recently introduced its climate change legislation into the Parliament. This legislation was welcomed by many in the conservation movement, including the Climate Council.
Coming up a close second was support for the introduction of a federal integrity commission, a key promise of the Labor Party in the lead up to the May 2022 election. Latest reports indicate that relevant legislation could be introduced as soon as September.
The third top issue was media reform, with respondents expressing deep concern over the concentration of media ownership, the lack of diversity and the need for truth in political advertising. Although there is no clear legislative agenda for this issue, there is a growing number of Party members expected to press this issue over the course of the coming months, spurred on by former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd MP.
However, other issues also were prevalent in the survey, with members keen to see government action on a wide range of matters such as housing, mental health, education investment, the Uluru Statement of the Heart, human rights, tax reform, aged care and the cost of living.