'Gay boys more likely to be groomed than girls': federal MP

FEDERAL Member for Dawson George Christensen has criticised a new law reducing the age of consent for anal sex to 16.

The State Parliament has voted to reduce the age of consent for anal sex from 18 to 16, standardising the age for all consensual sexual acts.

The word sodomy will also be replaced with "anal intercourse" in the state's Criminal Code to reduce stigma around gay and bisexual men.

But Mr Christensen thinks the law will put young gay men at risk of grooming from older men.

"Unless they have restricted it to a certain age bracket around 16 years - and I don't believe they have - it allows men in their 40s, 50s and beyond to legally have sex with 16-year-old boys. I think that's wrong," he said.

Mr Christensen said he would support a consent age of 16 if there was an age bracket of around 16-24 year olds.

"The problem is we know that there are paedophiles out there who prey on younger people, young men who are confused about their sexuality, seeking information on the Internet," he said.

Mr Christensen said he didn't think the age of consent for vaginal sex needed to rise to 18.

Why just protect gay boys and not 16-year-old girls?

"When you were 16, I can guarantee that the thought of having sex with a 50-year-old would have been gross," Mr Christensen told this reporter.

"I think that most 16-year-olds girls would think that too. It just doesn't happen.

"The facts show that there are more young boys who are (preyed) upon and groomed by older men than women."

State Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said that 28 LNP MPs had voted for the bill on Thursday night.

"(The law) was discriminating against young males... now young men have the same rights as young women," she said.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said this change would support the health of young Queenslanders.

He said a panel of experts found that the current laws "may lead to people feeling compelled to withhold information about their sexual history from health practitioners".

"Withholding this information could have serious implications for a young person's medical treatment, particularly as unprotected anal intercourse is the highest-risk behaviour for transmission of HIV," he said.

Queensland had been the only state in Australia with different ages of consent for different consensual sexual acts.



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