Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW

​Changes to vilification laws

Published: 25 September 2018

Criminal offences for serious vilification have been relocated to the Crimes Act 1900, as a result of legislation that came into force on 13 August 2018.

The Crimes Amendment (Publicly Threatening and Inciting Violence) Act 2018 created a single new offence within the Crimes Act 1900 of publicly threatening or inciting violence on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status and HIV/AIDS status (Section 93Z). The new offence replaces four separate offences that were in the Anti-Discimrination Act 1977 (NSW) (ADA) which have now been removed.

The Anti-Discrimination Board continues to accept and investigate complaints of vilification on the grounds of race, homosexuality, transgender status and HIV/AIDS status, but complaints of vilification involving threatened violence or incitement to violence should be referred directly to NSW Police.

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Vilification is defined under the ADA as a public act that incites hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule towards a person or group because of certain characteristics.

Changes under the new legislation

The new legislation introduces a number of changes, including:

  • There is no longer a six-month time limit on prosecution.
  • There are higher maximum penalties (100 penalty points and/or three years imprisonment for individuals and 500 penalty points for corporations).
  • Presumed attributes are covered for all grounds. This means it is irrelevant whether the offender’s assumptions or beliefs about the race, religion etc of the others were correct.
  • A person can be found guilty if they intentionally or recklessly threaten or incite violence.
  • There is no need to prove actual incitement to violence, just that the public act was capable of inciting violence.
  • The definition of ‘public act’ has been updated to include social and other electronic media.

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