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Research Report 34: Evidence-based policymaking and the abolition of capital punishment

Premier T J Ryan was a strong advocate for the abolition of capital punishment in Queensland, but it could not be achieved until the upper house, the Legislative Council, was itself abolished in 1922.  It was not possible to remove the House of Lords in Westminster, the main obstacle to abolition in the UK.  Ann Scott examines the use of evidence by the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment (1949-1953) in changing public opinion on capital punishment, drawing on statistics from Queensland in the process.  Britain abolished capital punishment nearly 50 years after Queensland had become the first state in the British Commonwealth to do so.

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