Monday 2 July 2018
I welcome the Strike Force Parrabell report and commend NSW Police and Assistant Commissioner Tony Crandell for committing the resources to thoroughly review the violent deaths of 88 gay men or perceived to be gay between 1976 and 2000. The associated academic review by Flinders University provides an independent check. The report: HERE.
The re-investigation and review confirmed targeted gay hate murders of 27 men during a wave of ‘gay bashing’ and ‘moral panic’, but does not show systemic police bias. It is disappointing that the lack of evidence and poor records after such a long time limits the results.
Importantly Parrabell shows it is vital for police to build relationships with affected communities to address crime and safety. Work over the last decade to improve homicide investigations and record keeping, and the introduction of a Bias Crime Unit, the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer (GLLO) program and police training with LGBTIQ community representatives was identified as essential.
I congratulate advocates including ACON and the former Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby Anti-Violence Project for pushing to reform police systems and expose this terrible history. It is vital that NSW Police embed reforms into police systems so all police officers consider bias. I will follow this up with the Minister for Police and work with colleagues across NSW Parliament for a Parliamentary inquiry.
We must be vigilant and make sure that this type of attack on vulnerable communities and individuals never occurs again.