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Vic Parliament to apologise to men convicted of gay sex offence -

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MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Later today Victoria's Parliament will issue a landmark apology to men convicted for having homosexual sex.

The state apology is thought to be the first of its type in the world.

The people behind the campaign for an apology hope it leads to compensation.

In Melbourne, Tom Nightingale reports.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: Tom Anderson says he was a naïve teenager when he was sexually abused by his boss and then convicted for a homosexual act.

And he's been waiting 39 years for today's apology.

TOM ANDERSON: It's going to be finally an acknowledgement that I did nothing wrong.

You know, back in my circumstances, what happened to me, being the victim of child abuse and going to the police and report the abuse and then be charged as a criminal myself.

You know, I left thinking I did something wrong, and it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact I never did do anything wrong.

But now it's actually going to be a formal apology acknowledging that I did do nothing wrong.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: He says he still can't figure out why he was convicted at all.

TOM ANDERSON: My parents, when they took me down to police station took my down to the police station in good faith.

They were just led by what the police said.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: Have you forgiven the people who convicted you?

TOM ANDERSON: I've forgiven my abuser, and today will go a long way.

You know, the one question I don't think will ever be answered is why did this happen?

Back then, I didn't have to be charged. It was actually a discretion that could have been used. It came down to one person's decision at the station, police station manager or such at that time, or was station sergeant, who made that decision.

And, you know, I'll never know what caused that decision to be made.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: Tom Anderson says he often wonders, "What if?"

TOM ANDERSON: I think this has had an untold affect on relationships in my life.

You know, sometimes I just wish I could look back and, say, detail what effect this had on my life, what would have been different if this didn't happen.

You know, I tried to make the best of a bad situation in my life, but yeah, sometimes I just wish this had never happened.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: The Human Rights Law Centre has been helping the campaign for an apology.

Lawyer Anna Brown says the centre is also pushing for compensation.

ANNA BROWN: I don't think that suggestion's been picked up by either of the major parties at this point.

But when you think about the impact that these laws have had on someone like Tom, I think there's no question if we're talking about compensation for victims of institutional sex abuse, for example, why not compensation for people who were convicted under these unjust laws.

Whether it was imprisoned or whether the fines imposed, when you think about it in today's terms, they represent quite a hefty penalty for these people.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: Do you think that the apology makes it more likely that there'll be compensation?

ANNA BROWN: Well I think an apology is definitely a step in the right direction towards just reparations for what happened to these people.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: The apology will take place this afternoon.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Tom Nightingale.