MR: Aleph Melbourne commends the Andrews government for strengthening anti-hate protections

MEDIA RELEASE
September 2 2021

Aleph Melbourne commends the Victorian Government, under the leadership of Premier Daniel Andrews, for its ongoing commitment to protecting all Victorians from hate, and for standing steadfastly strong with Jewish and LGBTIQ+ Victorians.

Along with making the public display of Nazi symbols illegal, we welcome the government’s commitment to extending anti-vilification protections to cover sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and HIV/AIDS status.

All too often homophobia is juxtaposed with antisemitism in wanton acts of hate, as evidenced by the attack on Cranbourne Golf Club last year[1] and the attack on the Gardiner’s Creek Trail in July this year[2].

It was with sadness that Aleph Melbourne’s submission to the Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections highlighted a litany of anti-LGBTIQ+ vilification emanating from within the Jewish community. We hope that these reforms will see the end of such intolerance, and allow those in our community who have been forced to live in the shadows to feel sufficiently empowered to come forward and live a more authentic life.

We are also grateful to David Southwick MP for inviting Aleph Melbourne to lodge a submission to the Inquiry, which the committee found most compelling.[3]

Michael Barnett
Co-convenor
Aleph Melbourne

CONTACT
michael@aleph.org.au
0417-595-541

RELATED MEDIA

  1. MR: Aleph Melbourne condemns Nazi defacement of resurfaced Gardiners Creek Trail (July 17 2021)
    https://aleph.org.au/2021/07/17/mr-aleph-melbourne-condemns-nazi-defacement-of-resurfaced-gardiners-creek-trail
  2. Response to attack on Cranbourne Golf Club (May 21 2020)
    https://aleph.org.au/2020/05/21/response-to-attack-on-cranbourne-golf-club
  3. Letters: Tackling vilification | AJN (Mar 20 2021)
    https://aleph.org.au/2021/03/20/letters-tackling-vilification-ajn

ENDS

Letters: Tackling vilification | AJN

Tackling vilification

I am deeply grateful to David Southwick MP for personally extending an invitation to Aleph Melbourne to provide a submission to the Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections.  I am also grateful to the committee of the inquiry for accepting our submission.

For many years I have witnessed vilifying comments originating within the Jewish community, directed at Jewish LGBTIQ+ people.  These hateful comments, which appeared in Jewish print, broadcast, online and social media outlets, formed the basis of Aleph Melbourne’s submission to the inquiry.

The committee found our submission sufficiently compelling that they quoted from it in their report.

The Jewish community does not tolerate an iota of hate directed at it, and it should not tolerate an iota of hate emanating from it.

The committee recommended strengthening anti-vilification laws, including adding protections for LGBTIQ+ people and those with HIV/AIDS.  Doing so will make Victoria a safer place for all people, whether they are Jewish, LGBTIQ+, or any other category.

Michael Barnett
Co-convenor, Aleph Melbourne

Australian Jewish News, March 19, 2021, page 19

Ban Nazi Swastikas, Protect Queer People From Hate Crimes, Recommends Inquiry | Star Observer


Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections 

In addition to commentary on race, religion and ethnicity, the Committee also heard evidence that disproportionately negative media commentary has serious consequences for various other groups, such as the LGBTIQ community. For example, in its submission, Aleph Melbourne stated: 

Since 2001 there have been numerous hateful and vilifying attacks on LGBTIQ+ people in print and social media, originating in or closely connected to Melbourne’s Jewish community. Had such attacks been anti‑Semitic in nature it is likely there would have been justified outrage from the Jewish community and attempts made to seek legal remedy under anti‑vilification legislation. At present there is no equivalent protection available for attacks on LGBTIQ+ people.64 

202103-Inquiry-into-Anti-vilification-Protections

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SEE ALSO

Jewish community submissions to Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections

Aleph Melbourne, together with other Jewish Community organisations, have provided submissions to the Victorian Government Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections.

Details of the inquiry, along with links to the submissions, are presented here.


Terms of Reference

Received from the Legislative Assembly on 12 September 2019:

An inquiry into current anti-vilification laws, their possible expansion, and/or extension of protections beyond existing classes to the Legal and Social Issues Committee for consideration and report no later than 1 September 2020.

The Committee should consider: 

1) The effectiveness of the operation of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (the Act) in delivering upon its purposes;
2) The success or otherwise of enforcement of the Act, and the appropriateness of sanctions in delivering upon the Act’s purposes;
3) Interaction between the Act and other state and Commonwealth legislation;
4) Comparisons in the operation of the Victorian Act with legislation in other jurisdictions;
5) The role of state legislation in addressing online vilification.
6) The effectiveness of current approaches to law enforcement in addressing online offending.
7) Any evidence of increasing vilification and hate conduct in Victoria;
8) Possible extension of protections or expansion of protection to classes of people not currently protected under the existing Act;
9) Any work underway to engage with social media and technology companies to protect Victorians from vilification.

Terms of Reference – Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections


Submissions

The following submissions have been accepted by the Committee:

# 26. Jewish Community Council of Victoria
# 38. Online Hate Prevention Institute [supplementary submission]
# 55. Australian Jewish Association [supplementary submission]
# 57. Union for Progressive Judaism
# 58. Aleph Melbourne [supplementary submission]


Hearings and Transcripts

 Past Hearings:

Tuesday, 25 February 2020
Meeting room G.1, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne

TimeWitnessTranscript
12:45pmJewish Community Council of Victoria
Jennifer Huppert, President
 Transcript

Wednesday, 27 May 2020
Meeting room G.6, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne and via videoconference

TimeWitnessTranscript
1:30pmAustalian Jewish Association
Dr David Adler, President
Ted Lapkin, Executive Director
 Transcript

Wednesday, 24 June 2020
Meeting room G.6, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne and via videoconference

TimeWitnessTranscript
11:20amUnion for Progressive JudaismTranscript

Tuesday, 25 June 2020
Meeting room G.6, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne and via videoconference

TimeWitnessTranscript
12:50pmExecutive Council of Australian JewryTranscript

ECAJ submission to the Senate Committee on the Exposure Draft of Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry submitted a response to the Senate Committee inquiry on the Exposure Draft of Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012.

All submissions to this Senate inquiry are online here.  The submission by the ECAJ is available on the Senate site (#242) and the ECAJ site.

The following paragraph on page 6 of the submission (emphasis added) is of particular relevance:

Whilst there are good, evidence-based policy reasons to have legislation in place which prohibits conduct that offends, insults, humiliates or intimidates others because of other attributes, especially sexual orientation and gender identity, we believe that this should take the form of anti-vilification, not anti-discrimination, legislation and such legislation should include the same objective element as applies when the protected attribute is race. If, as we believe is the case, the Commonwealth lacks the constitutional power to enact anti-vilification legislation to protect attributes other than race, then it should be left to the States and Territories to do so, and the focus of government should be to achieve uniformity in such legislation across Australia.