Honi Soit: Queer and civil rights groups hold a conference after NSW Police’s disinvitation from Mardi Gras

The recent disinvitation of the NSW Police from the Mardi Gras parade following the murder of  Luke Davies and Jesse Baird by a police constable has sparked significant discussion concerning accountability and justice within the NSW Police, as well as safety within the LGBTIQA+ community. 

On the 27th of February, NSW Council for Civil Liberties gathered at Taylor Square with Pride in Protest, Blak Caucus, Latoya Aroha Rule, and the NSW Greens to discuss this topic. This event happened in the wake of reports that the bodies of Luke Davies and Jesse Baird were discovered near a property in Bungonia.

Charlie Murphy from Pride in Protest opened the conference, welcoming the Board's decision, stating that disinvitation is the “bare minimum in terms of addressing police oppression.”. 

It was also discussed that the apology made by Karen Webb, the NSW Police Commissioner, was "worthless" espicially as calls for police reform and recommendations for police conduct are ignored.

During the event four key demands were outlined:

  1. The immediate disarming, defunding and dismantling of the police
  2. Banning of police usage of firearms and pepper spray 
  3. Weapons funding to be reinvested in services such as public housing, affordable healthcare, free legal help and shelters
  4. The implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody

Josh Pallas of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties spoke to “the issue around policing in the queer community and other communities” which have “pervaded this state since this state existed.”

He called for greater converstation about police access to guns, “we need an independent investigation into weapons policy; into police use of force and weapons…must be independent from the police and it must be independent from the NSW Government.”

The collective also called for the police to look to the “recommendations of Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes, and the NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission’s Review of NSW Police Force responses to domestic and family violence incidents.”

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