No action in NSW against hate speech

November 26, 2017 by  
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NSW Labor has reintroduced a Private Member’s Bill to strengthen the laws against hate speech.

Paul Lynch

Shadow Attorney General Paul Lynch gave notice of the Crimes and Anti-Discrimination Legislation Amendment (Racial and Other Vilification) Bill 2017 this week.

In the 30 years since section 20D of the Anti-Discrimination Act was introduced there has never been a successful prosecution for serious racial vilification, despite 30 referrals for prosecution.

Four years ago a cross-party Legislative Council Committee unanimously recommended improvements to the law. The Government has refused to implement these changes and refused to strengthen the law.

In 2015 the then Attorney General Gabrielle Upton admitted the law was broken and said she’d introduce legislation in the first half of 2016. She didn’t.

In 2017 the Government appointed Stepan Kerkasharian to conduct a consultation on serious vilification in NSW. He did that, the consultation is long finished and the Government has still done nothing.

The NSW Opposition introduced a Private Member’s Bill, which included many of the Committee recommendations and would have strengthened the law. The Government defeated the Bill on Party lines.

Because, four years later, the Government has done nothing the Opposition has given notice to reintroduce the Bill.

The Opposition Bill includes the following features:

  • Reduces the threshold for prosecutions from incite to promote serious racial vilification;
  • Removes the provisions into the Crimes Act;
  • Have investigations carried out by the Police not just the Anti-Discrimination Board;
  • Removes requirements of Attorney General’s consent for prosecution;
  • Extends the limitation period for offences from 6 months to 12 months;
  • Clarifies that the offence includes quasi – public places;
  • Clarifies that recklessness is sufficient to constitute intention;
  • Includes “presumed race” in the Bill

 Paul Lynch Said: “The State needs proper laws against hate speech. That’s what the Parliament legislated 30 years ago. The fact that there’s never been a prosecution makes a mockery of the law and it needs to be reformed.

The Government has sat on its hands for four years and done precisely nothing. The Government is either completely lazy or hamstrung by its own right-wing extremists. It’s ground to a halt.”


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