Vic - Review of 'Hate Crime' laws
'Hate crimes' are under review in Victoria. If what is being proposed in the review documents is introduced into legislation, it will mean even MORE RESTRICTIONS on the freedom of speech.
In fact, if you OFFEND or INSULT a homosexual you could be hauled before the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission - and with their NEW POWERS, the EOHRC could launch their own investigation into behaviour they think 'offends' someone!
Churches and Christians will be under even more threat if this is put into legislation!
Last year Victoria's Attorney-General Rob Hulls initiated changes to the Sentencing Act regarding the sentencing of hate crimes.
The amendment requires a sentencing court to have regard to whether an offence was motivated (wholly or partially) by hatred of, or prejudice against, a group of people with common characteristics with which the victim was associated or with which the offender believed the victim was associated.
But that isn't enough for Mr Hulls.
Now he has asked Hon Geoffrey Eames, a retired Supreme Court judge, to conduct a review of 'Identity Motivated Hate Crime' in Victoria to "determine whether current hate crime laws are adequate". They are considering whether 'hate crimes' should be a specific part of the criminal law. Click here to read Mr Hulls media release last December (sorry, we missed it then!).
We believe that a crime is a crime - regardless of who it is committed against. The criminal law should treat all people equally.
The review, which will consider criminal and civil law, is being organised by the Justice Department and is "addressing offences motivated by hatred or prejudice".
Prejudice . . .
Prejudice - now that’s an interesting word. What it means is that this review is actually considering ‘vilification laws’, not just crimes covered by the Criminal Code such as murder and assault.
Attorney-General Rob Hulls has asked Mr Eames to "consult with key representatives of community groups who might have particular experience as potential or actual victims of such hate crimes". Mr Eames has to report to the Mr Hulls in September 2010.
The review has been asked to "have particular regard to":
1. The principles in the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and
2. The discussion paper, With Respect: a strategy for reducing homophobic harrassment in Victoria by the Joint Working Group of the Attorney-General’s and Health Minister’s Advisory Committees on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (GLBTI) Issues [published in 2007].
Regarding the Charter, the review site says that "Amendments to combat hate crime must be carefully targeted to behaviour that is criminal and not unreasonably limit the general rights of members of the community such as the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief."
The question is, whose rights will be pre-eminent? Those of homosexuals or those of Christians who oppose the normalisation of homosexuality or quote the Bible?
This question is even more relevant when you consider the second document, which sets out what the homosexual lobby wants: the report calls for legislation to deal with 'homophobic harassment'. Essentially, they want vilification laws based on sexuality. However, the report claims that the sexuality vilification laws that already exist in NSW, ACT, Queensland and Tasmania (similar to Victoria's Racial and Religious Tolerance Act), which are based on 'inciting hatred ...', are much too difficult to prove and get convictions.
So the report recommends that "harassment be defined as 'conduct that offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults or ridicules another person'."
Since anyone can easily feel offended or insulted, this proposal, if enacted, would see a flood of complaints to the EOHRC and give the EOHRC even more scope to 'launch investigations'!
There is still time for churches and organisations and individuals to make a carefully considered submission. It is important to be very polite and present some arguments about why this sort of legislation is unacceptable.
There isn't a formal deadline, although a 'mid-February 2010' date was mentioned. But the review continues until September...
So still make a submission!
The Review website - click here.
It has a full description of the Review.
Read the Terms of Reference (PDF 23KB)
Please act now to protect our liberty.
Send submissions to:
Review of Identity Motivated Hate Crime
Criminal Law Policy
Department of Justice
GPO Box 4356
Melbourne VIC 3001
Write to MPs...
Please also write to your MPs in Victoria in the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council.
Click here for contact details and information on finding your OWN SIX Victorian MPs.
* Please write to Liberal leader Ted Baillieu, asking that they oppose this development of 'hate crime' laws.
* Write to Premier John Brumby, telling him you oppose such moves.
Click here for MP details and information on finding your OWN SIX MPs.
PS: If you're wondering why there are two images of a man with his mouth taped, it's because this is even more draconian and will FURTHER restrict free speech!