NSW Parliament sets up inquiry into historic gay hate crimes

In Parliament | 19.09.18

The NSW Legislative Council today moved to establish a parliamentary inquiry into gay hate crimes that occurred in Sydney between 1970 and 2010.

The multi-party inquiry will be conducted by the Social Issues Committee and follows calls from the community for a parliamentary inquiry into the murders of at least 88 gay and transgender people over that period, of which almost 30 remain unresolved.

The inquiry also follows a landmark community report by ACON, ‘In Pursuit of Truth and Justice’, that documented violence against the LGBTIQ community and the recent NSW Police Strike Force Parrabell report that reviewed 88 deaths to examine whether these deaths were gay hate crimes.

The Liberal party Chair of the Inquiry Shayne Mallard MLC welcomed the inquiry and the opportunity for the families, friends and community members of victims to share their experience with the Parliament and seek a sense of justice for the victims.

“The gay hate crimes, bashings and murders are a dark stain on our city’s past that needs to be fully exposed for the sake of the victims, their families, friends and the community in general,” Mr Mallard said.

“This Inquiry will not only look at the violent crimes committed against the LGBTIQ community but will also review current policies around hate crimes to determine if any short comings have been addressed,” Mr Mallard added.

Labor member of the inquiry Penny Sharpe MLC said she was pleased that members were able to work across the Parliament to establish this important Inquiry.

“The ferocity and frequency of violence targeted towards members of the LGBTIQ community in the past decades has been exposed over many years.”

“The two reports delivered this year were important steps towards understanding this violence and warrant further examination.”

“Victims and their families and friends still have questions that remain unanswered.”

“I look forward to this inquiry as a means to help find answers and to make sure that state government agencies are doing everything in their power to ensure that violence against the LGBTIQ community is addressed and ultimately eliminated.” 


Terms of Reference for the Inquiry:

That with reference to the May 2018 report of ACON “In Pursuit of Truth and Justice” and the progress made by NSW Police through Strike Force Parrabell, the Social Issues committee inquire into the response to gay and transgender hate crimes between 1970 and 2010 and current developments in policy and practice in relation to such crimes, and in particular:

1. The violent crimes committed in NSW between 1970 and 2010 where the victim of that crime was a member of the LGBTIQ community and where the relevant crime was the subject of a report to the NSW Police Force, and whether:

(a) there existed impediments within the NSW criminal justice system that impacted the protection of LGBTIQ people in NSW and the delivery of justice to victims of LGBTIQ hate crimes and their families, with reference to case studies of particular matters including but not limited to: Alan Rosendale, Scott Johnson, John Russell and Ross Warren;

(b) to the extent that past impediments are identified, how effectively these have been addressed by current policy and practice; and

2. In relation to LGBTIQ hate crimes more generally:

(a) what role the so-called “gay panic” defence played in the culture of LGBTIQ hate crimes between 1970 and 2010; and

(b) how the so-called “gay panic” defence impacted the delivery of justice and the treatment of gay men during LGBTIQ hate crime investigations and court proceedings; and

3. Any other related matter.