Hate Laws Take On Extremists

Sunday Mail/Courier Mail | March 4, 2001

Anti-hate laws will be rushed into parliament by the State Government to counter an outbreak of white extremism.

Last night Premier Peter Beattie confirmed that Cabinet would give the go-ahead tomorrow for anti-vilification legislation.

Anyone who incited racial or religious hatred or violence would be charged with a crime, carrying a $5000 fine or up to six months in jail.

Aborigines have been targetted in Rockhampton, where property has been covered with stickers urging residents to “awake” and “save the white race”.

Further north in Mackay, the Anti-Discrimination Commission has recieved complaints from Aborigines and South Sea Islanders about the activities of alleged Ku Klux Klan supporters.

The Rockhampton campaign has been linked to the World Church of the Creator [now the Church of Creativity], a United States-based white supremacist group.

A Rockhampton post office box is used as the group’s Australian base.

It is led by the Rev Matt Hale, an Illinois lawyer who preaches anti-Christian and anti-Semitic messages.

Mr Beattie said the legislation before the Cabinet was “fair go stuff”.

Anti-Discrimination Commission acting head Susan Booth said the legislation would affect groups such as the World Church of the Creator but would not make it an offence to tell a racist joke.

Ms Booth said she hoped the legislation would be expanded.

“I would like to think the government may consider expanding it to look at homosexual, AIDS, disability and gender vilification,” she said.

Mr Beattie rejected the idea, saying the proposed legislation was a “commitment to multi-culturalism that does not deal with those other principles”.

Sunday Mail/Courier Mail | March 4, 2001

Disciples of Hate

Editorial, Page 79

There is no place in Queensland society for shadowy groups preacg messages of racial hatred. They are nothing more than refuges for sick and cowardly minds.

The Ku Klux Klan, or its scruffy homegrown imitators, and such bodies as the so-called World Church of the Creator [now the Church of Creativity] offer nothing but hatred, violence and mischief. They prey upon fear, anger and prejudice but give absolutely nothing in return.

But, because of them, and similar hateful groups, the Queensland Government is forced to rush through legislation requiring us all to behave in a manner that should be dictated by nothing more than good manners and old-fashioned common sense.

The Queensland legislation is relatively moderate and, for better or worse, does not address such issues as vilification over sexuality, gender or disability. It is, says Premier Peter Beattie, a “commitment to multiculturalism that does not deal with those other principles”. It is also a commitment to a “fair go” for all Queenslanders.

Susan Booth, of the Anti-Discrimination Commission, says the legislation will not make it an offence to tella racist joke. However, the truth is that all such legislation to moderate behaviour is open to potential abuse by vexatious or petty litigants. The challenge will be to frame and to administer legislatiopn that gives effective controls over incitement to hatred or violence without curtailing reasonable freedom of speech.

There is no escaping the fact that anti-vilification legislation has the potential to intrude on all of our lives. However, those who are affronted by the new laws should direct their anger at the purveyors of hate and the disciples of violence who openly abuse our hard-won and cherished freedoms of expression.

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