Reformist Tinkering, The Queensland Law of Murder and Other Disasters


  • Santo De Pasquale Principal Lawyer, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Adrian Howe Principal Fellow School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne


Two Victorians, long-term advocates of abolishing the provocation defence, discuss the ramifications of reformist tinkering with the law of murder that stops short of abolition. They register their despair at legislatures that hold fast to the so-called ‘heat of passion’ defence with reference to law reform and cases in Queensland and New South Wales. What, they ask, will it take for these two jurisdictions to enter the twenty- first century and follow all the other Australian states in abolishing a defence well past its use-by date?