Last night the Queensland Parliament passed legislation dumping the ‘gay panic’ defence in that state, leaving South Australia as the only state failing to remove this partial defence of provocation.
Greens Member of the SA Upper House, Tammy Franks MLC, who has twice moved legislation in the Parliament to end the gay panic defence in SA has condemned the Weatherill Government’s lack of action on abolishing the gay panic defence stating:
“SA is now firmly on the wrong side of Australian history on this issue.
“It is embarrassing that South Australia now stands alone as the only state in the nation to still have this indefensible defence available to a murderer. It’s offensive to treat gay men’s lives as being of lesser worth than other lives yet ignoring this relic of the past sends exactly that message of homophobic hate to the broader community.
“How can the Weatherill Government claim they’ve truly progressed LGTBI rights and equality when a dead gay man’s life is still treated with such disregard, if he is murdered by another man and this defence is claimed,” Ms Franks concluded.
Background: This partial common law defence to murder (sometimes referred to as 'homosexual advancement test') was established in the case of Green v The Queen in 1996. In that case, a man, Green, stabbed his friend to death with a pair of scissors after an apparently unwanted, non-violent sexual approach. Although Green was initially sentenced to murder for a crime that involved hitting the victim 35 times, banging his face against a wall and stabbing him 10 times with scissors, this sentence was able to be downgraded to manslaughter because of the existence of the ‘gay panic’ defence. "Yeah, I killed him, but he did worse to me," Green later told police. “He tried to root me." The defence was most recently used in SA in 2013 in the Andrew Negre murder case.
Last night Queensland voted to remove the gay panic defence in that state leaving SA alone as not having taken action on this matter. Tasmania became the first Australian jurisdiction to abolish the provocation defence in 2003. It has also been abolished in Victoria (2005) and WA (2008), NSW (2014) and now Queensland (2017) while the NT and the ACT have previously amended the defence to exclude non-violent sexual advances.