78ers Slam NSW Police Over Objections Before Sydney Hate Crime Deaths Inquiry

78ers Slam NSW Police Over Objections Before Sydney Hate Crime Deaths Inquiry

The veterans of Sydney’s first Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 1978, have condemned the stand taken by NSW Police this week before the special commission of inquiry into historical LGBTQI hate crime deaths. 

The 78ers, in a statement, said that the police’s position reflected its attitude towards the LGBTQI community. 

The inquiry, headed by Supreme Court Justice John Sackar is looking into unsolved anti-LGBTQI hate crime deaths in Sydney and NSW between 1970 and 2010. On Monday, NSW police objected to the commission analysing or reviewing the sufficiency or adequacy of earlier reports, including the 2018 Strike Force Parabell report

Strike Force Parabell looked into 88 unsolved deaths between 1976 and 2000 and classified around 23 deaths as being motivated by hate crimes. ACON reviewed the findings and in its report concluded that most of the deaths were anti-LGBTQI hate crime deaths. 

‘Little Evidence Of Change’

In a judgement delivered on Tuesday, Justice Sackar dismissed NSW police’s objections. The commission also slammed the police for claiming that the inquiry was straining its resources and had resulted in the stalling of 12 unsolved homicide deaths. 

“First Mardi Gras Inc, as an association representing 78ers, is particularly concerned that the NSW Police position is indicative of a continuing resistance to the transparency of police operations, and an insensitivity within the force towards issues of profound importance to the LGBTQI community,” the 78ers said in a statement. 

“When the then Police Commissioner Mick Fuller apologised to 78ers and the LGBTQI community for the behaviour of police in 1978 there was genuine hope that a cultural change might be underway. That was in 2018, and since then the community has seen little evidence that this change runs deep.”

NSW Police Eject Mardi Gras ’78er From Sydney Cricket Ground Over Anti-Putin Poster

78ers Call ON Mardi Gras To Reconsider Police Presence

Earlier this year, police had ejected 78er Barbara Karpinski from the 2022 Mardi Gras parade at the Sydney Cricket Ground over an anti-Putin poster. The police subsequently apologised to Karpinski.

“Although a personal apology was issued, there has been no clarification of who ordered this treatment and on what authority, or what actions have been taken to ensure it does not happen again,” the statement said.

First Mardi Gras has called on the Board of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to “review the inclusion of an official Police entry in the 2023 Mardi Gras parade and to take clear steps to ensure that the terms of its own Accord with NSW Police require police to demonstrate sensitivity and transparency in their dealings with the LGBTQI community.”


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