After advice from an expert committee, and a petition by Father Paul Kelly on Change.org which has attracted over 26000 signatures to date, Anna Bligh and Paul Lucas on behalf of the Queensland government announced on Wednesday 25 January that the Criminal Code would be amended to remove the 'gay panic' defence to assaults, manslaughter and murder.
This archaic provision means that a defendant can plead that their violent actions were mitigated by being provoked by what they interpreted as a homosexual advance.
This is an abhorrent legal provision which should have been removed long ago.
All Queenslanders should support law reform which removes such a vile defence. It has no place in the legal system of the modern democratic and progressive state in which we all want to live.
But, because Parliament will only sit for one more week before the State Election on 24 March, insufficient time remains to draft amendments and pass them during this term.
The LNP has not had a strong record on issues of concern to same-sex attracted Queenslanders (and to all those who support justice and equal rights). For instance, all LNP Members opposed the recent Civil Partnerships Bill, and Shadow Treasurer Tim Nicholls indicated the LNP might repeal the Act if elected to government.
There can be no ambiguous or ambivalent statements on this question. The LNP needs to commit now to repealing the disgusting partial provocation 'gay panic' defence through amending the Criminal Code in the next term of Parliament.
All Queenslanders need to know where the alternative government of this state stands on justice issues of such importance before we decide our vote.