MEDIA RELEASE: Affirmative Consent Law Passes NSW Lower House

In a significant achievement for sexual assault advocates and survivors, affirmative consent laws passed the NSW Lower House last night, paving the way for this to be made law by the end of this week or early next week, Greens Spokesperson for Women, Jenny Leong MP said today.

This Bill recognises that:

  1. every person has a right to choose whether to participate in a sexual activity,
  2. consent to a sexual activity must not be presumed,
  3. consensual sexual activity involves ongoing and mutual communication, decision-making and free and voluntary agreement between the persons participating in the sexual activity,

The Greens had given notice of a similar Bill earlier this year, and enthusiastically support this Government Bill, despite moving some amendments to further improve it.

“This is a significant moment. This is a very significant reform,” Ms Leong said. “It means that it can no longer be assumed that someone consents to having sex. The person who wants sex must be able to demonstrate that they took steps to ensure that the other person also enthusiastically consents to this.

“The Bill puts victim-survivors at the heart of the law, and removes rape myths and assumptions from the Crimes Act. It removes the patriarchal assumption that anyone is entitled to sex without the active, enthusiastic consent of the other person.

“For so many, this reform is very personal - dealing with subject matter is very traumatic - because the acts of sexual assault and sexual violence they were subjected to were traumatic.

“This reform was a long time coming, and is a significant step towards eliminating the excessive levels of sexual assault in our society - so that we can all participate in society equally without fear.

“While it's important to acknowledge the Attorney General in bringing the Bill, and the multi-partisan support for this Bill here in this place - it is critical that we acknowledge that credit for this reform sits with some incredibly strong survivor-advocates, feminists, experts and activists who have been through so much and who have never given up - and in particular survivor-advocate Saxon Mullins,” Ms Leong said.

The Greens moved a raft of amendments, which were not supported by the Government, and will seek to move additional amendments in the NSW Upper House before the Bill is adopted.

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