Tasmania Looks To Increasing Penalties For Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes

Tasmania Looks To Increasing Penalties For Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes
Image: Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff. Image: Facebook.

Tasmania is set to relook at the state’s hate crime laws and review if tougher penalties are warranted for crimes motivated by hate, including anti-LGBTQI hate. 

In 2017, Tasmania added Section 11B to its Sentencing Act, that imposed harsher punishments if the crime was motivated by racism.

The Sentencing Advisory Council recently announced a review to examine whether “section 11B could be expanded to consider whether the offence was motivated to any degree by religion, language, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, innate variations of sex characteristics, age, a particular physical disability or cognitive impairment, or a mental illness.”

Tackling Anti-LGBTQI Hate Crimes

LGBTQI advocacy group Equality Tasmania welcomed the review as a much-needed step to tackle anti-LGBTQI hate crimes. 

 “We welcome the review of sentencing for hate-motivated crime and will be making the case for why anti-LGBTIQA+ prejudice and hate should draw tougher penalties,” Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said in a statement. 

“The harm inflicted by crimes against LGBTIQA+ people can be much worse when the motive for that crime is hatred. At the moment, the fact that only race hate draws tougher sentences sends the message that hate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics is less serious and more acceptable.”

Croome said that Equality Tasmania will also take up the issue of specialised training for Tasmanian police to identify anti-LGBTQI hate-motivated crimes and ways to record them.   

“There is not enough reliable data on hate crime in Tasmania and this is an opportunity to legislate so the Police have to collect that data,” said Croome.

Law To Ban Hate Symbols

In March, Tasmanian  Labor had called on the government to expand the state’s hate crime laws. This followed clashes in Melbourne after neo-Nazis attended an anti-trans rally organised by British anti-trans campaigner Kellie Jay Keen, and performed the Nazi salute outside Victorian Parliament. 

Premier Jeremy Rockliff’’s Liberal government proposed a law to ban Nazi hate symbols. Tasmanian Labor MP Ealla Haddad welcomed the draft law but said the government needs to go further. 

“Labor welcomes any action that sends a message to the community that there is no place for hate speech in our state,” Haddad said in a statement.

“However, the bill does not go far enough. It should be expanded to include the banning of other displays of hate such as the Nazi salute and hate crimes motivated by homophobia and transphobia,” Haddad added.

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