Multicultural Australia welcomes the introduction of the Queensland Government’s Racial Vilification Law reforms in Parliament and legislation.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today outlined the reforms to its Racial Vilification Laws which includes ‘Relocating section 131A of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) (the) into the Criminal Code’, classifying offences of racial vilification as serious crimes.

The changes also include the banning of public display of hate symbols, including Nazi flags and symbols, and a more severe penalties for serious racial, religious, sexuality or gender identity vilification, with perpetrators facing up to three years in prison.

The new laws will support culturally and linguistically diverse communities to live more safely in neighbourhoods and public spaces across Queensland.

Multicultural Australia CEO, Christine Castley, welcomes the Queensland Government’s commitment and action to address serious vilification.

“We are pleased and relieved to see the introduction of the hate crime and serious vilification legislation into the Queensland Parliament. This sends an important message that hate crime will not be tolerated in Queensland,” Ms Castley said.

“The laws will enhance the safety of every person and every community in Queensland, especially for those culturally and linguistically diverse communities who all too often face harassment as they go about their lives in public spaces and places of worship.”

As part of the Cohesive Communities Coalition, co-chaired by Ms Castley, Multicultural Australia advocated for legislation dedicated to addressing the issue of serious vilification and racial hate crimes in Queensland.

“Multicultural Australia is proud to have been a part of the Cohesive Communities Coalition, which has advocated for these laws and shared stories from individuals in our diverse communities who, in many cases, had to relive harrowing experiences and trauma from acts of hate that in most cases will be a crime under the new laws.”

Between 2015 and 2020, the Queensland Police Service recorded eight offences against section 131A (of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld). In the same period, its information management agency QPRIME also recorded a total of 550 incidents with characteristics of hate or vilification.

At a Parliamentary inquiry last year, The Coalition tabled 17 recommendations that informed the Queensland government on these reforms.

Ms Castley reiterated Multicultural Australia’s commitment to advocate for the safety of individuals from families and communities from culturally and religiously diverse communities.

“We will continue to amplify the voices of affected communities and individuals, and work with the Queensland Government and response agencies such as the Queensland Police to improve the awareness and reporting of hate crimes.”