Gender & Sexuality

Hateful ‘Gay Panic’ murder defence must finally go

Media Releases, Newsroom

Nearly 50 years ago, Dr George Duncan was thrown in Adelaide’s River Torrens because he was gay and he drowned. His killers were never brought to justice.

In the years following, the South Australian parliament proudly led the nation on the decriminalisation of homosexuality as a result of his death.

However, SA now lags far behind the rest of the country and is the only place in Australia to still have the hateful “Gay Panic Defence” as a provocation for murder to be diminished to manslaughter.

The defence not only still exists, but it is still being used. In 2015, the High Court of Australia allowed a retrial for Michael Lindsay, who was found guilty in 2011 of bashing and stabbing Andrew Negre to death and later dumping his body in a wheelie bin in a gully. It was claimed that the defendant had lost control because the victim had made unwanted sexual advances.

Greens MLC Tammy Franks has today moved a motion calling on the Marshall Liberal Government to make good on their promise, and to abolish the gay panic defence.

Quotes attributable to Tammy Franks MLC:

“Almost a decade since I introduce a Bill to rid ourselves of the hurtful stain of the so-called ‘Gay Panic’ – and several Bills and inquiries after that – we are STILL waiting for the law to treat a gay man’s life as of equal worth if he is murdered.

“Before the last election, both major parties promise they would act on this matter. We are still waiting. Last year in April the Government again promised it would finally remove the gay panic defence by the end of 2019, and yet we’re still waiting.

“All sides of politics have previously committed to removing this awful and outdated defence, and whilst we keep being promised change we are yet to see it.

“It’s been long enough. While the so-called ‘Gay Panic’ defence exists in our state it means we are willing to blame the dead victim if his killer claims he was gay, and I think that is unacceptable.

“The South Australian Government is now absolutely alone in Australia in defending this indefensible defence. The time for this change was years ago, but now is better than never.” 

Media Contact: Tammy Franks – 0457 549 938