The WA government has formally apologised to Western Australians who have been criminally convicted for homosexual acts.
Premier Mark McGowan made the apology in State Parliament, calling it “long overdue” and claiming the government was doing all it could to “right this wrong.”
“On behalf of the Government of Western Australia, I am sorry for the hurt, for the prejudice, for the active discrimination that ruined lives,” Mr McGowan said.
“For decades in Western Australia, unjust laws against homosexual acts were used to shame homosexual men, to deny their human rights, and to deny their humanity.”
“I feel a sense of deep sadness that many victims of these unjust laws are not alive today to head this apology.”
The apology came as the State Government introduced legislation that allowing people prosecuted over homosexual offences to have their convictions expunged.
Convictions for homosexual acts were based on now defunct laws outlawing homosexual acts, with the government believes up to 300 people have been affected by the laws in WA.
Homosexuality was decriminalised in the state in 1990, but people prosecuted under the laws continued to live with convictions.
People convicted with homosexual offences will have to apply to have their convictions to be expunged and convince the Department of Justice that the actions that led to their prosecution would not be crime under today’s laws.
If a conviction is expunged, it would not only be wiped from a criminal record, it would also be treated as though it never happened.
Partners and close family of people convicted who have since died will be able to apply to have their convictions expunged.