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A Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes will provide hope and answers to grieving families and loved ones after decades in the dark, the NSW Government has announced.

Spearheaded by NSW Supreme Court Justice John Sackar, the Inquiry will investigate the manner and cause of death in all unsolved suspected hate crime deaths in NSW between 1970 and 2010 where the victim was a member of the LGBTIQ community.

The Inquiry will also re-examine the findings of the NSW Police report by Strike Force Parrabell which reviewed 88 deaths listed as potentially involving motivations of gay-hate bias.

“These unsolved deaths have left loving families without answers for too long,” NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said.

“This Inquiry provides an opportunity to focus further scrutiny on suspected hate crimes, and under the leadership of Justice Sackar will work to close a dark chapter of our state’s history that has left an indelible mark.

“Justice Sackar is a respected and experienced Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and will bring expertise to this significant role.”

Establishing a judicial inquiry was a key recommendation of the final report of the Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues Inquiry into Gay and Transgender hate crimes between 1970 and 2010, tabled in May 2021.

The Commissioner will have regard to findings of previous inquiries and reports including the AIDS Council of New South Wales report, In Pursuit of Truth and Justice.

Partner at Australia’s only “out loud and proud” LGBTIQ law firm Dowson Turco Lawyers, Nicholas Stewart said although the Special Commission of Inquiry is a “huge step in the right direction”, the LGBT community of NSW wants a far-reaching inquiry that considers all hate crime assaults and robberies, not just murders.

“Historical hate crimes against the LGBT community involved very grievous bashings and robberies (and these continue to occur, now). These were also committed in an environment when the LGBT community was becoming more visible as it found liberation, but also in an environment of societal fear surrounding the AIDS epidemic,” Stewart said.

“We estimate the number of assaults and robberies to be in the tens of thousands.

“It is for these reasons that my firm says that a Royal Commission with wide terms of reference is the only forum within which the LGBT communities’ experiences of hate crimes can be properly considered. ”

Chair of the Legislative Council Inquiry Shayne Mallard said establishing the Special Commission of Inquiry is an “important step forward”.

“These suspected crimes may have occurred decades ago but for those close to the victims, the scars and the pain still linger,” Mallard said.

“Members of our LGBTIQ community have suffered grave injustices that were not acceptable in the past and are certainly not acceptable now.

“This Inquiry will be painful, bringing some awful incidents back into the spotlight, but it is an important process to right past wrongs.”

Justice Sackar will deliver a final report to NSW Governor Margaret Beazley on or before June 30, 2023.

ACON, QLife and Lifeline provide counselling services for LGBTIQ community members who have experienced violence, as well as survivors’ friends and loved ones. Please call: ACON on (02) 9206 2000, QLife on 1800 184 527, or Lifeline on 13 14 11. For more information visit:, or