SA Government introduces bill to abolish ‘gay panic’ defence

The South Australian Liberal Government has just introduced a Bill to state parliament that could see the end of the ‘gay panic’ defence in Australia.

The legislative relic allows for criminal charges to be downgraded for a killer, if the victim was of the same gender and flirting with the attacker, under the umbrella of “provocation”.

The Bill, which would abolish the common law defence of provocation, was today introduced to parliament by the Marshall Government’s Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink.

The move follows a petition launched by Equality Australia and South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance (SARAA), which has gathered more than 25,000 signatures this week.

The petitioners are calling for South Australia to follow the lead of Victoria, NSW and the NT in ensuring courts consider the real impact of hate crimes on victims.

“The gay panic defence is probably the biggest legal issue that LGBTIQ+ South Australians are concerned about when they talk with SARAA,” SARAA Chair Matthew Morris said.

“As the first state in Australia to decriminalise homosexuality, it’s embarrassing that we are the last to abolish this outdated legal defence. We welcome this reform and hope that all politicians will support its passage.”

Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown adds that the reform is long overdue.

“Laws that legitimise and excuse violent and lethal behaviour against any member of the LGBTIQ+ community have no place anywhere in Australia,” Brown said.

“Attacking someone because who they are offends you should increase your punishment, not reduce it.”

More to come.

OIP Staff

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