Hate crime penalties to be increased

The Queensland Government announced today that it would increase penalties for hate crimes and serious vilification offences.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said legislation would soon be introduced to Parliament to amend existing offences in Queensland.

“Queensland Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Safety Committee carefully considered these issues last year and recommended that we strengthen serious vilification and hate crime laws,” Ms Fentiman said.

“This included increasing penalties due to the seriousness of this offending, which seeks to harm and intimidate fellow Queenslanders.

“We intend to amend several offences in the Queensland Statute Book to provide for circumstances of aggravation, increasing the maximum penalty where the offence is motivated by hatred or serious contempt for a member of a specified group.

“This is intended to support the courts’ treatment of these offences as more serious and therefore deserving of a more severe punishment.


“It also sends a clear message to the community that offending motivated by prejudice is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

“We will also amend the existing offence of serious racial, religious, sexuality or gender identity vilification in the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 by removing the existing requirement that a proceeding for this offence may not be commenced without the written consent of either the myself or the Director of Public Prosecutions, relocating it to the Criminal Code and increasing the maximum penalty to three years’ imprisonment.”

Ms Fentiman said that she had joined Police Minister Mark Ryan and Multicultural Affairs Minister Leanne Linard in a roundtable meeting with members of the multicultural community to hear directly how these reforms should be approached, and their feedback had supported the proposed approach.

“I want members of our many and varied communities across Queensland to know that your safety and your sense of belonging is extremely important, and we are acting to protect it,” she said.

“We have already taken steps to work towards introducing new laws to make it a criminal offence to display hate symbols to invoke fear in others.”

The Government accepted all 17 of the parliamentary committee’s recommendations following its review of the nature and extent of hate crimes and serious vilification in the state, and the effectiveness of existing laws.

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