Government delivers consent law reforms

Published Thursday, 25 March, 2021 at 06:29 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

The protection of women was again at the forefront of the legislative agenda of the Palaszczuk Labor Government as it delivered significant consent law reforms in Parliament today.

Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence said these reforms were an important first step in modernising consent laws in Queensland.

“By providing clarity in these laws, and making consent laws more accessible, and with better safeguards, we will have the strong legal system in place to keep more Queensland women safe, and hold perpetrators to account,” the Attorney-General said.

“We have enshrined in the Criminal Code principles like silence doesn’t amount to consent, consent once given can be withdrawn and the self-intoxication of a defendant cannot be relied upon by that defendant to show that they were mistaken about whether or not consent was given and that was reasonable.

“This will provide clarity for judges to properly direct juries and get better outcomes for victims.”

All five recommendations made by the Queensland Law Reform commission in its review of consent laws and excuse of mistake of fact were implemented including enshrining in the criminal code the four key principles.

“I understand that some stakeholders believe the laws could go further, and I acknowledge there is always more to do.

“Our Government will always look at ways we can eliminate violence against women from our community.”

This month, the Premier and the Attorney-General announced a wide-ranging review of women’s experiences in the criminal justice system to be conducted by the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce – led by the Hon Margaret McMurdo AC.

“The taskforce will look at ways to break down the barriers women face from when they report the crime all the way to their experience in the court.

“These are complex laws that need extensive consultation to get this right, and if the taskforce find that consent laws need amending, our Government will act.”

The 10 member Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce will look into possible future areas of reform, including attitudinal change, prevention, service response and legislative amendment.


Media contact: Penni Pappas (FENTIMAN) 0438 747 540