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STATEMENT: More than apology needed from government and police on LGBTIQ+ hate crimes

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Amanda Cohn
NSW Greens MP
26 February 2024

Queer communities are reeling following the alleged murders of Luke Davies and Jesse Baird last week by a member of the NSW Police Force, using a police firearm.

This weekend, NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb apologised to the families of gay hate crime victims who were denied justice as a result of systemic failures within the NSW Police Force. This apology is important, overdue, and welcome, but it will take significant and tangible reform to the NSWPF to rebuild trust with queer communities.

The Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes made 19 recommendations, including an independent review of the NSWPF approach to LGBTIQ communities. Last week in response to questions from the Greens at Budget Estimates, the Police Minister was not able to articulate progress towards their implementation, only recommitting to an internal working group process.

Premier Chris Minns insisting police march in this year’s Mardi Gras are at odds with community sentiment, with even The Sydney Morning Herald joining calls for police to step back in recognition of the distrust and fear within queer communities towards police that has again been stoked.

The NSW government must recognise that parts of the community don't feel safe reporting threats to police, and that police continuing to investigate themselves cannot deliver the meaningful change that is needed, nor build trust with marginalised communities.

There are important questions being asked around access to weapons, as well as police approaches to domestic violence and particularly to perpetrators within their ranks.

LGBTIQ hate crimes are not just historical. Our leaders must recognise the present pain and grief of queer communities in NSW and that the NSW Police Force must reckon with its “shameful homophobia, transphobia and prejudice."

To Jesse and Luke's family and friends - I am so sorry that the system has failed us again and must change.

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Amanda Cohn
NSW Greens MP
26 February 2024
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