Victorian Government response to the recommendations of the Legislative Assembly Legal and Social Issues Committee’s Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections
The Victorian Government welcomes the Report and recommendations of the Legislative Assembly Legal and Social Issues Committee’s Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections.
The government thanks the Committee for its comprehensive review of anti-vilification protections in Victoria, and those who provided submissions and evidence to the Inquiry, particularly given the sensitive subject matter. The Report provides valuable insight into the significant and cumulative harm caused by vilification, highlighting the importance of a robust framework to both prevent and respond to vilification and hate conduct in Victoria.
The government firmly believes that vilification has no place in our community. Sadly, the evidence presented to the Committee suggests hate conduct and vilification are clearly present in Victoria. Exposure to vilification and hate conduct appears to be more prevalent for Aboriginal people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people from particular faiths, women, people who identify as LGBTIQ, and people with disability. Vilification occurs across many settings - schools, sporting grounds, workplaces, services, and online.
Instances of hate conduct and vilification are often linked to external events – for example, acts of terror or negative public discourse or public backlash against issues of community interest. This was illustrated when sectors of the Victorian community reported an increase in incidents of racism and vilification in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The harm caused by hate conduct and vilification can be profound, affecting the physical and psychological wellbeing of individuals as well as whole communities’ ability to participate in daily life. Significantly, hate conduct and vilification challenges the very core of Victoria’s social cohesion through its inherent divisiveness and unequal distribution of power.
The government would like to again acknowledge the very important work of the Legal and Social Issues Committee, as well as the individuals and organisations who shared their experiences, time and expertise with the Inquiry.
The Victorian Government’s response
The government is pleased to respond to the Committee’s Report.
Addressing the causes of and responses to vilification and hate conduct is complex. The government is committed to engaging with the findings of the Report and will continue to develop and implement evidence-based initiatives to prevent and address vilification in our community.
The government’s response addresses each recommendation in the Report, identifying current government initiatives aimed at addressing hate conduct and vilification in Victoria, as well as future priorities and actions that will respond to the Inquiry’s recommendations.
The government’s Anti-Racism Taskforce is performing important work developing Victoria’s new Anti-Racism Strategy. The Anti-Racism Strategy will complement the implementation of the Inquiry’s recommendations that relate to racial vilification.
This response was prepared in consultation with key agencies, including Victoria Police, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC), and the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC). It builds on the government’s submissions to the Inquiry in December 2019 and June 2020 and the options explored in those submissions to prevent and respond to hate conduct and vilification in Victoria.
Response to recommendations
Reviewed 30 November 2021