The NSW government has recently ordered a review into the effectiveness of section 93Z of the Crimes Act 1900. Section 93Z makes it an offence to publicly threaten or incite violence on grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex or HIV/AIDS status. The maximum penalty for an individual is 100 penalty units or imprisonment for 3 years (or both).
Calls from community groups, challenging the efficacy of section 93Z, have prompted the start of this review.
“There is no place in NSW for hate speech or incitement to violence. We live in a multicultural society, and it is vital that we have laws that protect people who come from communities all around the world and call NSW home,” Premier Minns said in a statement.
NSW Council for Civil Liberties expressed hope that the review would involve community consultation. “The law should not criminalise legitimate free speech,” Anne Charlton, Executive Officer, NSW Council for Civil Liberties said.
“NSWCCL is concerned that NSW Police have been given the power to launch prosecutions under section 93Z. NSW Police have not overcome entrenched hostility to some vulnerable communities, as demonstrated by the recent report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes,” added Charlton.
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