Hate Speech Law Reform Underway
20 Sep 2023
The Victorian Government’s anti-vilification reform is underway, and they want to hear what you have to say!
Vilification, more commonly called ‘hate speech’, refers to public behaviour that incites or encourages hatred, serious contempt, revulsion, or severe ridicule against a person or group of people based on their membership of a particular group.
This year, our LGBTIQ+ communities have come under increasing attack from the far right. Extremists have sought to incite hatred and intimidate us into cancelling community events across the state.
As a community, we’ve come a long way in securing rights and recognition. Unfortunately, with every gain won, we suffer a backlash from those who oppose it. The road to equality is long with many barriers. But when we persevere together, we can achieve positive change.
Stages 2 and 3 of the consultation process are underway. You can contribute by completing consultation surveys, linked below.
Stage 2 looks at improving criminal anti-vilification protections, including the review of maximum penalties for serious vilification. Questions to consider are whether vilification should only cover public acts, or include spaces considered private, such as schools, workplaces, and online groups. It also asks what the maximum penalties – such as jail time and fines – should be for perpetrating vilification. Stage 2 feedback closes on October 2.
Stage 3 looks at how to strengthen civil anti-vilification protections. Questions to consider are how things people say and do should be restricted to prevent harm, and what things should be exempt from these restrictions. This Stage also asks questions regarding how the Human Rights Commission could help individuals or groups identify who has vilified them, such as requesting social media platforms to identify someone that has posted vilifying comments. Stage 3 also asks for your opinion on how representative organisations could make a complaint on behalf of an individual, which means you might consider the barriers people face when making a complaint on their own. Stage 3 feedback closes on October 16.
Remember, your opinion matters. Vilification affects all of us across our diverse communities, and the Government wants to hear how it affects you and what you think should be done about it.
To find out more about the anti-vilification reform process, head to the Engage Victoria website.