Queensland To Get New Hate Crime Laws From April 29

Queensland To Get New Hate Crime Laws From April 29
Image: Queensland Premier Steven Miles (left) and Attorney General Yvette D'Ath (extreme right)

Changes to Queensland’s hate crime laws will come into effect this month with tougher penalties and longer jail terms for those who commit offences motivated by hatred for a victim’s sexuality, gender identity, sex characteristics, race or religion. 

Queensland’s Human Rights Commission said that the “new, stronger vilification and hate crime laws” would become operational from April 29, 2024. 

Queensland’s parliament passed changes to its hate crime laws in October 2023, banning the public display of hate symbols and increasing penalties for hate crimes and serious vilification. The state has not yet named the hate symbols that will be banned under the law, and the list will be notified by the attorney general. Nazi symbols and gestures, and anti-Semitic chants are widely expected to come under the purview of the ban. 

Sterner Penalties For Hate Crimes

“Criminals who commit serious crimes motivated by hate and prejudice will face sterner penalties,” Attorney General Yvette D’Ath said when the laws were passed last year.

“Those who publicly display, publish or disseminate hate symbols which might reasonably be expected to intimidate or menace or offend a particular group will also face penalties. These behaviours will not be tolerated.”

“It is our hope that this new legislation will encourage members of our community to report hate serious vilification, because they will have greater confidence that perpetrators will be held to account,” D’Ath added.

New Law For Crimes Committed From April 29

According to QHRC the changes to the laws, which will apply to hate crimes committed on or after April 29, will strengthen protections for people experiencing vilification.

“The criminal offence of serious vilification will be moved from the Anti-Discrimination Act to the Criminal Code, and will have a higher penalty,” the QHRC said in a statement. The bill empowers the police to charge a person with a hate crime offence. The maximum penalty for an offence of “serious racial, religious, sexuality or gender identity vilification” would attract a prison term of up to three years, up from the existing punishment of six months imprisonment.

“When crimes like assault, going armed so as to cause fear, threatening violence, wilful damage, trespass and public nuisance are motivated by hatred or serious contempt because of the victim’s race, religion, sexuality, gender identity or sex characteristics, courts will be able to impose a tougher penalty including longer custodial sentences.”

LGBTQI persons who are victims of hate crimes can speak with a  Queensland Police Service LGBTIQ+ liaison officer.

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