NSW Labor calls for tougher anti-race hate laws

June 3, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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NSW Labor frontbencher Walt Secord has appealed to NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton to re-consider her position and support Labor’s bill to toughen up the State’s antiquated anti-race hate laws.

Walt Secord holds the Bill

Walt Secord holds the Bill

The Foley Labor Opposition introduced the Crimes and Anti-Discrimination Legislation Amendment (Vilification) Bill into the NSW Legislative Assembly yesterday.

NSW Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council and the Deputy chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel,  Walt Secord welcomed the Bill and said he wanted to see the Baird Government support the legislation.

Mr Secord described the bill’s amendments as “common sense” and “would give genuine teeth” to the anti-race laws in NSW.

Furthermore, he said the amendments were based on the Government’s own December 2013 parliamentary inquiry into the racial vilification laws.

Mr Secord said: “It has been almost 28 years since the original laws were passed by then-Premier Nick Greiner with the support of the Labor opposition. At the time, it had the strong support for the various community groups in NSW, including the NSW Jewish community.”

“In the same spirit, Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton can send a strong signal to racists in NSW that they have no place in NSW – and support the bill.”

Mr Secord said there was an urgent need for reform and a toughening up of the laws.

“There have been about 30 separate cases referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, but there has not been a single prosecution in NSW for racial vilification or advocating violence against members of the community on the basis of their race, gender or sexual orientation. Clearly, the laws are needed to be improved.”

“This matter is too important to have partisan politics allowing those who spread hate and intolerance to escape prosecution in NSW. That is why I am appealing to Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton to reconsider her opposition to Labor’s bill,” Mr Secord said.

Under Labor’s bill, there are a number of provisions including:

  • To allow hate speech to be investigated by police;
  • To extend period in which prosecutions can be laid up to 12 months;
  • To remove the need for Attorney General’s consent which de-politicises the process;
  • To clarify the offence covers quasi-public places;
  • To make recklessness a basis for prosecution;
  • To include ‘imputed race’ as a basis for prosecution;
  • To move the offence of hate speech into the Crimes Act;
  • To lower the bar for prosecution if the offence occurs when a person promotes (rather than incites) hatred towards a person on racial, transgender, homosexual or HIV/AIDS grounds.

 

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