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Qld 'gay panic' campaign grows momentum

AAP logoAAP 24/11/2016 Jamie McKinnell

Singers, writers and Olympians are among high-profile Australians pressuring Queensland's government to fulfil a pledge to act on scrapping the so-called "gay panic defence" by the year's end.

Under current provocation laws, a defendant can argue to have a murder charge downgraded to manslaughter by claiming an unwanted homosexual advance triggered the attack.

The law has been dumped in every other Australian jurisdiction apart from Queensland and South Australia - some as far back as 2003.

In a video released by Change.org on Friday, screenwriter and columnist Benjamin Law directly appealed to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to come good on her long-held intention to act.

"As a fellow Queenslander, I think we both know that there are a lot of anachronisms in Queensland law," he said.

The defence had "no place in any decent society in 2016", Mr Law said.

Comedian Tom Ballard said the current situation was not right.

"Please, stick to your word and abolish this outdated, homophobic law," he said.

Laurelle Mellet, the mother of young Perth singer Troye Sivan, said it "chilled her to the bone" to think that her son might be the subject of such an argument in court.

"The gay panic defence to me is absolutely disgusting," she said.

TV presenter Faustina "Fuzzy" Agolley also added support in the video, while Olympic gold medalist Matthew Mitcham and singer Missy Higgins also drew attention to the campaign this week.

A Change.org petition calling for reform has attracted more than 289,000 signatures since it was started by Catholic priest Paul Kelly.

Father Kelly became a campaigner when the killers of Wayne Ruks, who was killed in his Maryborough churchyard in 2008, raised the defence at trial.

Last month, Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath tabled a letter in which she said an amendment to the state's criminal code would be introduced into parliament by the year's end.

There are now three sitting days left of parliament in 2016, beginning from Tuesday.

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