About time: South Australia are the last state to remove the ‘gay panic’ murder defence

South Australian State Parliament have finally abolished the ‘gay panic’ provocation defence and we’re still wondering why the hell it took them so long?

On Tuesday, the South Australian State Parliament passed legislation to abolish the absolutely disgusting ‘gay panic’ defence. This loophole meant that a “non-violent, homosexual advance” could be grounds for a murder charge to be downgraded to manslaughter.

The change follows on from a 2018 recommendation made by The Law Reform Institute of South Australia, who condemned the archaic defence in two reports.

gay panic defence
Photo: @hypnotiseme

South Australian Attorney-General Vickie Chapman told State Parliament that she “believed the laws struck the right balance between removing discriminatory provisions and protecting victims. The defence has been criticised for being complex, gender-biased and for encouraging victim-blaming.”

“It is at odds with community expectations that regardless of the degree of provocation, ordinary people should not resort to lethal violence.”

South Australia are the final Australian state to abolish this defence, which is quite odd considering that they were the first of the eight states and territories to decriminalise homosexuality back in 1975. Even more shocking, researchers found that this defence had been used four times over the last decade, including in the case of Andrew Negre.

Queensland were the last state to remove the defence from their legislation, passing the Criminal Law Amendment Bill in 2017.

It’s unbelievable how long it has taken for South Australia to finally abolish this defence, but it’s a significant step forward for the LGBTQI+ community.