NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley has accused the Berejiklian Government of pandering to Pauline Hanson by breaking its promise to reform the state’s race vilification laws. 

If elected in March 2019, a Foley Labor government will show leadership and legislate to strengthen laws against hate speech in its first 100 days.

The State Government quietly announced on Monday that there were no plans to strengthen the racial vilification provisions of the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act, which it has been promising for nearly two years and four years after a cross party parliamentary committee recommended that changes be made.

The race vilification laws contained in section 20D of the Act are weak and ineffective and have not led to a single successful prosecution in 30 years.

Mr Foley said the NSW Premier’s decision not to act was forced by a faction within her government that wanted to pander to Pauline Hanson and trade preferences with the One Nation political party.

Mr Foley said he was astonished that the Premier, who’s quick to be seen at multicultural functions, had not shown the leadership to go ahead with the changes which the government has been promising for two years.

Labor’s legislation would include following features:

  • Reduce the threshold for prosecutions from ‘incite’ to ‘promote’ serious racial vilification;
  • Move the provisions into the Crimes Act;
  • Have investigations carried out by the Police not just the Anti-Discrimination Board;
  • Remove requirements of Attorney General’s consent for prosecution;
  • Extend the limitation period for offences from 6 months to 12 months;
  • Clarify that the offence includes quasi – public places;
  • Clarify that recklessness is sufficient to constitute intention;
  • Include “presumed race” in the Bill.

Quotes attributable to Labor Leader Luke Foley

“We have seen public displays of hate – for example, a preacher urging others to kill Jewish people – yet the hate mongers just get away with it.

“I will not accept the status quo, which licences incitement to hatred and violence against ethnic minorities.

“Labor will act immediately upon coming to government.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Attorney General Paul Lynch

“The proposed changes have widespread support across the community. Major ethnic, community, religious and legal groups have all supported the changes. A parliamentary committee made up of all parties supported the changes.

“The only group not in favour of the changes to the Act are the Premier and her cabinet colleagues who have made this decision.

“The Government is pandering to Pauline Hanson and the offensive, racist attitudes she proclaims.

“NSW is a successful multicultural society. But to maintain that, we have to make sure our laws protect people from the promotion and advocacy of violence on the basis of race.

“The only people in NSW who seem to be afraid of doing that are in the NSW government.”