Only four states outlaw gay-hate – no permanant laws federally

“If hate speech is wrong during a postal survey, then it is wrong all the time.” - Brian Greig

Equality advocates have questioned why vilification against LGBTI Australians is only unacceptable during the marriage equality postal vote and not at other times.

Responding to proposed legislation from the Federal Government to outlaw hate speech during the three month postal survey, advocates are asking MPs why such protections are not applied permanently.

Spokesperson for just.equal, Brian Greig, said the need for hate speech laws during the same-sex marriage survey draws attention to the fact that there are no Commonwealth hate speech laws for LGBTI people.

“Federally we have permanent, national anti-hate speech laws for race and religion only, yet clearly there is a need for permanent laws to include sexuality and gender identity” Mr Greig said.

Mr Greig said permanent hate speech laws to protect LGBTI people at a state level exists only in four jurisdictions; New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT.

“Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory have no state-based laws to prevent or prosecute vilification on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity.

“This means LGBTI people in these states are especially vulnerable to hate speech and look to the Commonwealth for national laws to address this,” Mr Greig said.

Mr Greig said the inconsistency between existing state laws also meant that some states were strong and some weak in preventing LGBTI hate speech.

“Just.equal calls on the Commonwealth to cement a national law to prevent vilification against LGBTI people, not simply a temporary one that will be thrown away after the postal survey”.

Mr Greig said he fears that anti-LGBTI sentiment that is being stirred up by the national survey on same-sex marriage may last for many years to come.