No means no? Yes means yes, say ACT Greens

Caroline Le Couteur, MLA

The ACT Greens will this week table draft legislation redefining consent under ACT criminal law, bringing the ACT in line with other jurisdictions and strengthening the criminal justice system.

“Every Australian jurisdiction except the ACT has a statutory definition of consent based on the idea of free and voluntary agreement. Yet under ACT criminal law, consent is defined by when it is taken away, rather than when it is given,” Greens spokesperson for Women Caroline Le Couteur said today.

“The Greens believe it's important that we all understand what consent means.

“Consent is taken away under circumstances including coercion, intoxication and abuse of power. At best, this is confusing and doesn't help young people learn about how to relate to their sexual partners.

“A clear, unequivocal and freely given "yes" should be communicated between partners before sexual activity begins. Consent should not only be implied or inferred. The Greens believe that if it's not a clear yes, it's a no.

“An affirmative definition of consent would simplify and strengthen our criminal justice system. It would enable juries to reach more just decisions,” Ms Le Couteur added.

It comes as the ACT Greens last year led the conversation in the ACT Legislative Assembly to protect people from non-consensual sharing of intimate photos.

Canberrans are encouraged to contribute to the ACT Greens’ draft legislation and discussion paper, available here:


Discussion paper: