News - Oz
Category: Latest Written by Change.Org
Maryborough priest Father Paul Kelly says Premier hijacked by extreme elements of LNP; thousands more join campaign on Change.org
The Queensland priest who led a successful online revolt against the notorious “gay panic” defence has relaunched his campaign, vowing to keep fighting until new Queensland Premier Campbell Newman drops the “archaic and discriminatory” law.
Father Paul Kelly, whose campaign on Change.org sparked national media attention, more than 26,000 signatures and the support of English comedian Stephen Fry and fantasy writer Neil Gaiman, relaunched his campaign today following remarks by the Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie that changes to the gay panic law were unnecessary.
Father Paul said that prior to the election, Campbell Newman referred to the recommendations of the previous government’s expert committee as “certainly worthy of sensible consideration and we will look at it”.
But Father Paul said the Attorney-General appeared to have sidelined the Premier by dismissing the need to implement the recommendations.
“Sadly, it appears that the more extreme elements of the LNP have hijacked the party’s position on reforming this archaic law,” said Father Paul.
“The most uplifting aspect of my Change.org campaign was that it united disparate elements of the community - young and old, right and left, gay and straight - in speaking out against a discriminatory, offensive law.
“An expert committee looked at the issue and recommended changes - which were accepted by the previous government - to remove doubts about the use of the gay panic defence.
“The Premier appears to be going against the wishes of the public, with more than 75 per cent of Queenslanders saying in a Courier-Mail poll that the gay panic defence should be struck out.”
Father Paul started the original campaign on Change.org after the “gay panic” defence was used in the trial of two men charged with the 2008 murder of a man in Father Paul’s churchyard in Maryborough. After 26,000 signatures and major media coverage, the Labor Government agreed to change the law.
In the last 24 hours, more than 2,000 people have added their names to Father Paul’s petition, taking the tally to 29,000. Father Paul is aiming for 40,000 signatures and he’s pledged to deliver the petition personally to Premier Newman if necessary.
Change. org Campaign Director Karen Skinner said the “gay panic” campaign was the biggest Queensland petition hosted on Change.org and one of the largest nationally.
She said the campaign had attracted people from all walks of life and showed the power of the internet to unite people on issues they care about.