QLD migrant groups welcome tougher penalties on racial hate crimes
24 January 2023 | News
Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk and Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman have announced that the Queensland government will be introducing a bill to strengthen Queensland’s Racial Vilification Law. The announcement sends a clear and compassionate message to our multicultural communities that their voices have been heard.
Multicultural Australia welcomes the news, as a member of the Cohesive Communities Coalition which has been a major advocate on this issue for many years. We look forward to the introduction of the bill in March 2023.
Proposed changes include increasing penalty to serious vilification from six months to three years, moving the offence of serious vilification from Anti-Discrimination Act to the Criminal Code, introduction of ‘Circumstance of Aggravation’ which identifies offences motivated by hate and therefore requires heavier penalties and further strengthening the ban on hate symbols and propaganda such as Nazi symbols.
Christine Castley, CEO of Multicultural Australia and Co-Chair of the Cohesive Communities Coalition, is pleased that recommendations tabled by the Parliamentary Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee in its report on hate crime and serious vilification will be fully implemented to better protect our CALD communities from harm. The Cohesive Communities Coalition’s advocacy for changes to Queensland criminal laws follows many years of working in community to respond to experiences of hate and serious vilification by many of Queensland’s diverse ethnic and religious communities.
“These reforms will strengthen Queensland’s justice system for the benefit of all Queenslanders to ensure the acts of violence experienced by our migrant communities are treated as they truly are – serious crimes. The increased penalties not only reflect the severity of damage that racially motivated acts do to victims, but also the gravity of the danger it poses to all Queenslanders. Today’s announcement demonstrates the power of what can be achieved when members of the Queensland community from diverse background come together to advocate for a better world for all,” Ms Castley said.
“Diversity is our strength and protecting our most vulnerable from racially-motivated acts of hate means there will be systems in place to protect everyone from any form of hate-driven crimes.”
According to the latest survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 1.1 million Queenslanders were either born overseas or have parents who were born overseas.
In January 2021, Multicultural Australia as co-chair and member of the Cohesive Communities Coalition, tabled 17 key recommendations following many years of working in community to respond to experiences of hate and serious vilification by many of Queensland’s diverse ethnic and religious communities.
Learn more about the recommendations here