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Queensland To Drop Gay Panic Defence as the Australian state heads to the polls

Australia's North Eastern State, Queensland, says it will change Queensland's criminal code to eliminate the "gay panic" partial defence in murder cases involving homosexual victims.

Attorney-General Paul Lucas said yesterday the majority, though not unanimous, verdict of an expert panel appointed in November to consider the issue had been reported back to him last week.

"On Monday, Cabinet determined we will embark on drafting a specific provision so that, except in exceptional circumstances, a non-violent sexual advance does not allow someone to avail themselves of the partial defence of provocation," Mr Lucas said.

The Government set up the expert panel, chaired by former Queensland Court of Appeal Justice John Jerrard, following lobbying by Queensland's LGBTIQ community. Online petitions and other lobbying had move the issue into the mainstream conciousness.

Mr Lucas said it was not possible to completely remove the defence of unwanted sexual advance without creating consequences, such as affecting the ability of a female victim of domestic abuse to use the partial defence of provocation.

Meanwhile, it was announced today that the Queensland people will go to the polls on March 24 for the State Government Elections.

Rob Manser

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