Victoria to expand anti-hate laws to cover sexuality, gender, sex & HIV status

Victorian Aboriginal, multicultural and multifaith groups, human rights, women’s and LGBTIQ+ rights organisations have come together to welcome today’s commitment by the Victorian Government’s to strengthen the state’s anti-hate protections.

The Australian-first legislation would expand the state’s anti-vilification protections to cover sexuality, HIV status, gender, sex, and disability, as well as race and religion as they had previously.

“All forms of hate are unaccepable and have no place in Victoria,” the state’s Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said of today’s announcement.

“Expanding our anti-vilification laws to protect more Victorians sends a clear message that this vile behaviour will not be tolerated.”

CEO of Equality Australia, Anna Brown, was among the many voices welcoming the move from the Andrews Government.

“As organisations representing the wonderfully diverse people of Victoria, we welcome the Victorian Government’s response to the multi-partisan consensus recommendations of the Victorian Legislative Assembly’s Legal and Social Issues Committee report into anti-vilification protections”, Brown said.

“We look forward to working with the government, its agencies and each other to ensure the report’s recommendations are swiftly implemented.”

The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, Anti-Defamation Commission, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights, the Asian Australian Alliance, Equality Australia, Human Rights Law Centre, Jewish Community Council of Victoria, and the Victorian Pride Lobby, have previously worked together to advocate for the changes, and have today released a joint statement welcoming the government’s commitment and calling for the recommendations to be implemented as soon as possible.

We welcome the Government’s commitment to extend the state’s anti-vilification protections to cover sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS status,” said Novena Spirovska, co-convener of the Victorian Pride Lobby.

“Everyone should be able to participate in community life without fear or attack. We also welcome the Government’s commitment to better protecting LGBTIQ+ students, teachers and staff from discrimination. Nobody should face expulsion or the sack because they are LGBTIQ+”

The government’s announcement also commits to banning Nazi symbols. Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, who has been campaigning to outlaw the public displays of Nazi symbols for the last four years, said:

“Bravo to the government for rising to the challenge and declaring in a clear and unmistakable voice that the ultimate emblems of inhumanity and racism, that are meant to break our spirit and instil fear, will never find a refuge in our state.”

OIP Staff

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