find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Legal body condemns 'hate speech' proposal

Legal body condemns 'hate speech' proposal


A legal body has slammed proposed legislative changes that it says will see hatred and ridicule excused in the event that the conduct is a public act done reasonably and in good faith for religious purposes.

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has urged the Tasmanian Parliament to reject changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (Tas), as set out in the Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill 2016, which was tabled in the lower house of the Tasmanian Parliament on 20 September 2016.

Nicole Sommer, Tasmanian convenor of ALHR, said the proposed changes would see a new exemption inserted into the act whereby conduct that incites hatred, serious contempt or ridicule will be excused in the event that the conduct is a public act done reasonably and in good faith for religious purposes.

“ALHR is deeply concerned that such changes would have widespread negative implications for many individuals and minority groups,” Ms Sommer said.

“Those most immediately affected and at risk of harm are likely to be the Tasmanian LGBTQI community as a result of the ongoing public debate on same-sex marriage.

“These measures are contrary to firmly established principles of international human rights law and place Tasmania at odds with the laws of other Australian and comparable overseas democratic jurisdictions. No cause has been demonstrated which warrants them.”

Nicholas Stewart, co-chair of ALHR’s LGBTI Rights Subcommitte, also condemned the proposed changes.

“The proposed changes are unnecessary and do not strike a fair balance between freedom of expression and the internationally protected rights of reputation and human dignity. Free speech is not superior to other human rights. It is not supreme,” he said.

“The objective of legislation which seeks to prevent serious harm caused by speech that is homophobic is of sufficient importance to warrant appropriate restrictions on freedom of speech.

“The proposed changes leave the LGBTI community and other individuals and minority groups open to hate speech and offensive, humiliating, intimidating, insulting or ridiculing conduct on the basis of ‘religious purpose’, the proposed definition of which is ambiguous and without limitation.

“The act as it currently stands sufficiently achieves an appropriate balance between providing protection from discrimination and unlawful conduct whilst allowing for genuine public debate and discussion.”


Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Legal body condemns 'hate speech' proposal
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...