Victoria’s Andrews Labor Government has sent Reason leader Fiona Patten’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Amendment Bill to a parliamentary inquiry that must report back before September next year, in a win for the Member for Northern Metropolitan.
If the bill passes into law it will see Victoria join NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT in protecting people from vilification on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.
Currently Victoria only protects people from being vilified on the basis of race or religion.
The Bill also recognised the prevalence of online vilification, extending powers to identify anonymous trolls.
“Hate speech that incites violence and hatred against a class of people because of who they are, has no place in Victoria,” Patten said earlier today.
“I am very pleased that today the Victorian Government has acknowledged the need for reform, and the desire to find a solution, to the escalating and in some cases tragic effects of trolling and hate speech.”
Patten said she was surprised that the Victorian Liberals argued against the Bill given that the NSW Liberal Government introduced similar changes only last year.
“I’m surprised that the Victorian Liberal Party is prepared to protect against vilification for people on the grounds of race and religion, but condone the vilification of Victorians just because of their gender, sexuality or disability,” Patten said.
“This is not anti-discrimination legislation, vilification is an incitement offence with a much higher bar. These laws deal with the worst kinds of conduct that incite violence and hatred against a class of people, just because of who they are.”