Feminists and the Australian Christian Lobby don’t agree on much, but last month the group’s Helen Lovejoy-in-chief, Wendy Francis, made the dubious claim before a Queensland parliamentary committee hearing on removing the so-called gay panic defence from murder law that feminist groups agreed with her that changing the law would hurt women.

“I have spoken to a number of women’s organisations, including radical feminists, and all have all opposed this change,” she said.

She argued that removing the provocation defence of unwanted sexual advances would harm women who kill men who make non-violent sexual advances on them (though she couldn’t specifically point to any cases it had been used, and she did not dispute that common law interpretation of the law had resulted in this defence mostly being used as a defence for straight men to murder gay men). When pushed to name the “number of women’s organisations” she spoke to, Francis named just two:

“There were a number of women’s groups. There is the Brisbane Feminist Collective. In Sydney there is a strong, radical feminist group in RMIT University headed up by Dr Caroline Norma. I asked them what they thought of this and they agreed with my position. I sent them my position. They are concerned because of the impact on women. They are feminist groups. I am never surprised by the lack of submissions to any inquiry because I think the average person has a lot of things to do and they do not necessarily know what inquiries are happening in parliament.”

Ms Tips knows many Christians who say that the ACL doesn’t represent them, but she wonders how the radical feminists feel about the (very anti-abortion) ACL claiming to also represent their views? Crikey spent a week trying to get in contact with Norma via phone and email, but we were unable to reach her. The Brisbane Feminist Collective appears to not be active.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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