Parliament to review vilification laws to ensure an inclusive Queensland

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

The Palaszczuk Government has today taken action to ensure the state’s vilification and hate crime laws reflect its commitment to deliver a fair and inclusive community for all Queenslanders.

The Leader of the House, the Honourable Yvette D’Ath MP, today referred the matter of serious vilification and hate crime to the Queensland Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Safety Committee.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said:

“We recognise and value the extraordinary contribution that individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds make to our communities, which is why we are committed to a strong and unified Queensland that is fair, harmonious and inclusive.

“Prior to the last state election, we made a commitment to refer the Cohesive Communities Coalition’s options paper ‘Serious vilification and hate crime: The need for legislative reform’ to an appropriate Parliamentary Committee for review and consultation.

“The Cohesive Communities Coalition options paper raises a number of important concerns around the current laws and the experiences of people from diverse backgrounds across our state.”

Peter Forday, Chair of Multicultural Australia and Co-Chair of the Cohesive Communities Coalition welcomed the Queensland Government’s commitment to reviewing the state’s hate crime and vilification laws.

“On behalf of all the Queenslanders who are behind this campaign, we say thank you to the Queensland Government and Parliament for embracing this review.”

“Every Queenslander should feel that reporting hate incidents and crime is worth the effort, but that means our laws need to be there to provide the right protection.”

“We also think the way hate crimes are policed can also be improved through community scrutiny panels, and the introduction of victim protection orders and injunctions.”

“This is a moment to define the type of community that Queenslanders want, now and into the future, for ourselves and our families, friends and neighbours.”

Minister Fentiman said the referral of the options paper would empower the Legal Affairs and Safety Committee to provide Queenslanders with the opportunity to have their say and voice their experiences.

“We want to ensure that all voices are heard and that any potential changes to the law are properly informed by the views and experiences of a diverse range of Queenslanders,” she said.

“The Terms of Reference ask the Committee to consider serious vilification and hate crimes in a holistic way.

“This will enable the Committee to consider the impacts of serious vilification and hate crime on a wide range of groups, including, women, people with a disability, older people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and the LGBTIQ+ community.

“The Committee will review and investigate our existing laws, to determine whether they are operating effectively, consistent with community expectations and whether they are suitable to deal with modern challenges, such as online vilification.”

Minister Fentiman said the Committee will be tasked with ensuring that any recommendations strike a fair balance having regard to human rights protected under Queensland’s Human Rights Act 2019, such as freedom of expression, freedom of thought, the protection of families and children, as well as every person’s right to liberty and security.

“I look forward to receiving the Committee’s report on this important issue in due course,” she said.

A copy of the Cohesive Communities Coalition’s ‘Serious vilification and hate crime: The need for legislative reform’ options paper can be accessed at:

https://betterlawsforsafeqld.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/SeriousVilificationAndHateCrime_CohesiveCommunitiesCoalition-1.pdf

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