Public display of hate symbols outlawed

The public display, distribution or publication of prohibited hate symbols is to become a criminal offence in Queensland.

State Parliament yesterday passed legislation that prohibits the display of symbols that are representative of an ideology of extreme prejudice against a particular religious, ethnic, gender, or other relevant group.

The changes were effected by the Criminal Code (Serious Vilification and Hate Crimes) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023, which was introduced into Parliament by Shannon Fentiman, the then Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, on 29 March 2023.

Displaying, publishing or distributing prohibited symbols in a way that might reasonably be expected to cause someone to feel menaced, harassed or offended will be a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment.

The offence is intended to capture a broad range of circumstances, including the public display of tattoos and the public distribution or publication of prohibited symbols online.

The new legislation will enable hate symbols to be identified in a regulation.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath will consult the Commissioner of Police, the Crime and Corruption Commission Chair and the Queensland Human Rights Commissioner to identify which symbols of hate are to be criminalised.

The legislation has provision for reasonable excuses to the new offence, such as public display for genuine artistic, religious, educational, historical, legal, or law enforcement purposes.

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