Dolly Doctor

A round-up of the different consent laws in every Australian state and territory

Every state and territory has different laws.
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In Australia, some legislative duties fall to states and territories because of the federal structure of our government – and this is the case when it comes to consent laws.

WATCH: Moving the line by The Good Society.

Not many people know what the laws are and let alone that other states and territories do not prescribe to the same status quo.  

But before we get into that, let’s look into what consent means. 

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network called RAINN in America sights sexual consent as “an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity.”

To be put simply, no means no, and yes means yes, and the giving of consent can change at any point. 

In Australia, discussions about consent have been thrust into the mainstream zeitgeist after instances of abuse were brought to light. 

Earlier this year, Brittany Higgins revealed that another parliamentary member sexually assaulted her, and as a result, other stories of abuse from inside parliament were outed. 

In February, former Sydney private school student Chanel Contos shared an Instagram poll asking if any Sydney girls had experienced or knew someone who had been sexually assaulted by boys from all-boys private schools. 

As a result, 70 per cent of voters said yes to the poll, and it inspired Chanel to create a Google doc for people to share their testimonies, which now has tens and thousands of stories. 

The government was under a lot of fire (and rightfully so) for their own actions and not educating young people on consent.

However, in response, they released a now failed video about consent which depicted a young girl bullying a young man. 

It was cringe, unappropriated and has since been pulled down. 

To help clear up at least a little confusion, we have rounded up the different consent laws in every state and territory. 

The age of consent changes slightly with every state and territory. (Credit: Getty)

South Australia 

In SA the age of consent is 17 as per the Legal Services Commission of South Australia

Therefore, anyone who has sex with someone under 17 is breaking the law.

However, if one person is older and in a position of power, such as a teacher, step-parent, boss, coach or youth worker, the age of consent increases to 18.

“An agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity.” (Credit: Getty)

New South Wales 

The age of consent is 16 as written by the NSW GovernmentsAge of consent and related offences page.

However, for certain relationships the age of consent changes to 18.

Western Australia 

The age of consent is 16 as per the Western Australia Department of Health

It is also a crime to have sexual relations with someone under 18 if the older person is in a position of authority. 

Most ages of consent are 16 but two states are 17. (Credit: Getty)


According to gotocourt lawyers the age of consent is 16. 

However, if someone is in a position of authority, then the age of consent is 18.

If someone is between the 12 and 16, they can consent to sex “with a person who is not more than two years older.”

Northern Territory 

As per gotocourt the age of consent is 16.

It is also illegal for someone to have sex with someone 16 or 17 who is under their care. 

The legalities of sex can often be confusing. (Credit: Getty)

Australian Capital Territory 

The age of consent is 16 according to gotocourt


According legal aid the age of consent is 16

Knowing the law is important. (Credit: Getty)


Tasmania like South Australia is the only state that has the age of consent at 17 as per gotocourt

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