Queensland to make public display of hate symbols crime

JOINT STATEMENT

The public display of hate symbols such as those related to Nazi ideology will be banned in Queensland under new laws to combat hate crimes and serious vilification.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland was a freedom-loving society but no-one has the right to spread fear and hate.

“Nazism is evil,” the Premier said.

“Evil triumphs when good people do nothing.

“These crimes are not harmless and nor is the ideology behind it.”

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said the Queensland Government would introduce a new criminal offence making it illegal to display such hate symbols.

“Depictions of hate symbols have no place in Queensland,” the Attorney said.

“As a community, we cannot tolerate the deliberate use of these symbols to promote hatred towards communities that have been persecuted and cause those people fear.

“We are committed to a Queensland that is harmonious, fair and inclusive, not one where individuals or groups are vilified based on their race, religion, language, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation or gender.

“The Queensland Parliament Legal Affairs and Safety Committee’s recent inquiry into serious vilification and hate crimes recommended a criminal offence prohibiting the public display of hate symbols.”

“Subject to consultation with legal and community stakeholders, we hope to introduce legislation to make that happen during the second half of 2022.”

Multicultural Affairs Minister Leanne Linard said she supported the introduction of legislation that addressed serious vilification and hate crimes against culturally diverse groups.

“I meet and work with people from across our ethnically diverse state every day and have heard first-hand of the devastating effects of vilification and hate crimes”, Ms Linard said.

“This new legislation will protect against this form of discrimination and hold Queenslanders who commit these crimes to account.

“I endorse the Queensland Parliament Legal Affairs and Safety Committee’s recommendation to make it a criminal offence to display hate symbols to invoke fear in others.

“We know that swastika symbols have a profound meaning in some religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The new laws will allow these symbols to be used in these respectful circumstances but prevent them from being used as a symbol of hate. I look forward to the legislation being introduced later this year.”

The Attorney said the Parliamentary Committee had made 17 recommendations after reviewing the nature and extent of hate crimes and serious vilification in the State, and the effectiveness of existing laws.

“Our existing laws respond to some of the issues examined by the Committee, however, we are committed to strengthening our laws to ensure our diverse communities are better protected,” she said.

“That’s why we will be accepting all recommendations of the committee.

“Some of the recommendations will require more detailed analysis once the Queensland Human Rights Commission review of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 is complete so we can consider proposed reforms holistically to ensure consistency in our approach to these important issues.”

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