For adult male citizens to experience and act on homoerotic desire was considered natural and permissible, as long as their partner was a male of lower social standing.
Pederasty in ancient Rome was acceptable only when the younger partner was a prostitute or slave.
Pedophilic acts are also criminalized by the Children and Teenager Statute, in articles 241-A to 241-E.
This is the earliest known law condemning the act of male-to-male intercourse in the military.
In the Roman Republic, the Lex Scantinia imposed penalties on those who committed a sex crime (stuprum) against a freeborn male minor.
These were retained in the criminal codes passed by the various colonial parliaments during the 19th century, and by the state parliaments after Federation.
Following the Wolfenden report, the Dunstan Labor government introduced a consenting adults in private type legal defence in South Australia in 1972.
At the time of legalization (for the above), the age of consent, rape, defences, etc. Western Australia legalised male homosexuality in 1989 – Under the Law Reform (Decriminalization of Sodomy) Act 1989, as did New South Wales and the Northern Territory in 1984 with unequal ages of consent of 18 for New South Wales and the Northern Territory and 21 for Western Australia.
Then since 1997, the states and territories that retained different ages of consent or other vestiges of sodomy laws have tended to repeal them later; Western Australia did so in 2002, and New South Wales and the Northern Territory did so in 2003.
The exception was Tasmania, which retained its laws until the Federal Government and the United Nations Human Rights Committee forced their repeal in 1997.
Male homosexuality was decriminalised in the Australian Capital Territory in 1976, then Norfolk Island in 1993, following South Australia in 1975 and Victoria in 1981.
Following Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, the crime of sodomy has often been defined only as the "abominable and detestable crime against nature", or some variation of the phrase.