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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 29 October 2015) . . Page.. 3920 ..

still have them on their criminal record. As a sexual conviction, this offence cannot become a spent conviction under the Spent Convictions Act 2000. It would need to be disclosed when applying for a working with vulnerable people background check, for example. It might impact on employment or travel or other opportunities to participate in the community.

I read an example of a Queensland man, Alan Raabe, who published his story in a Queensland report on this issue. He was convicted for sexual assault in 1988 because homosexual conduct was criminalised. Because he had a criminal offence of a sexual nature, he had to abandon any hope of gaining teacher registration in Queensland, even though he had studied to gain the qualification. He was advised not to proceed with even an application for registration.

The impact is unlikely to be as great here in the ACT as it would be in other jurisdictions given, as I said, that Tasmania kept homosexuality offences until 1997 and Queensland had them until 1990. Nonetheless, it is important that we do make this step. Today’s bill will allow people to apply to have these convictions erased permanently from their records.

I believe this is an important symbolic change but also one that can have a very real impact on people’s lives. We have already seen legislation passed in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria that is similar to today’s bill. In concluding, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the thousands of LGBTQI people who have strived for many years to achieve reforms such as the one we will pass into law today.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.53): One of the films that have been recently released this year is called The Imitation Game. I do not know if people have seen it, but it is the story of Alan Turing, and, for those who do not know who Alan Turing is, he is the guy that basically broke the German enigma code in World War II that allowed the allies to gain significant strategic advantage. Whether it was known to his colleagues or not, Mr Turing was gay. After the war and after his having reported a house break-in, the police determined he was some sort of public menace and it resulted in his harassment.

I will not spoil the story. It is a video that people should really get out and watch, if they have not seen it, about the effect of this. It is pleasing that today we remove this piece of discrimination from our legislation and that is a good thing. The other piece that I would refer people to is Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol, written in exile in 1897. After having spent two years in the British criminal system, Mr Wilde was released and I think went to France, where he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol of his experiences there and the base treatment that the British justice system turned out in the century before last. It is a good thing that we do here today.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (5.55), in reply: I thank members for their unanimous support of this bill today. In these dying hours of the second last sitting week of the year, it is perhaps an understated moment to make changes to our statute book that will remove a level of stigma and shame that attaches to people who were simply seeking to express their love and express their commitment to one another.

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