NSW Labor will push for a Parliamentary inquiry into the spate of gay hate crimes that cast a tragic and dark shadow over Sydney from the late 1970s to the early 2000s, following the release of a landmark report today.

In the wake of the release of the NSW Police Force’s Parrabell report, which reviewed 88 deaths between 1976 and 2000, the Labor Opposition today begins the process of initiating a full Parliamentary inquiry.

Another report – released last month by the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) – into the crimes made a number of recommendations, among them the establishment of an inquiry into the extent and impact of historical violence experienced by the LGBTIQ community.

Backed by community representatives and family members of victims, Labor Leader Luke Foley said a repetition of such hateful crimes can be avoided only if the lessons of the past are learned.

Mr Foley said that even though community and police attitudes towards LGBTIQ people had fundamentally changed since these crimes took place it was important for any failures in the justice system to be acknowledged and any shortcomings addressed. 

Labor will be seeking bipartisan support for the inquiry when Parliament resumes in August and will refer the matter to the Legislative Council’s Social Issues Committee. In the meantime it will spend the next few weeks consulting with committee members, the community and victims’ families on the exact terms of reference for such an inquiry.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader and Labor Leader Luke Foley

A Parliamentary inquiry into the gay hate crimes that took place in Sydney those years ago is the appropriate response to these two significant reports.

“These crimes may have taken place decades ago, but there are families, friends and survivors living with the consequences every day.

“Being honest about the past can assist in the healing process but it can also prevent this dark chapter of our history from ever being repeated.” 

Quotes attributable to member of the Legislative Council’s Social Issues Committee Penny Sharpe MLC

“The ferocity and frequency of violence targeted towards members of the LGBTIQ community in the past decades has been exposed by these two important reports.” 

“Victims and their families and friends still have questions that remain unanswered.”

“I hope that the Parliament will agree to establishing an inquiry to help find answers and to make sure that state government agencies are doing everything in their power to ensure that violence against the LGBTIQ community is addressed and ultimately eliminated.”