Statement from the Victorian Multicultural Commission about Anti Vilification

We welcome the Victorian Government’s response to the Inquiry on anti-vilification protections.

Friday 3 September 2021 12:15am

At the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC), we welcome the Victorian Government’s response to Victorian Parliament’s Legislative Assembly’s Legal and Social Issues Committee’s Inquiry recommendations into anti-vilification protections.

Sadly, reports of racism in all its horrendous forms have increased across the globe. This includes in Australia and Victoria.

Racism, hate conduct and vilification contribute to isolation and poorer health. These include declining mental health and feelings of vulnerability. It also undermines a sense of belonging and the ability to take part in the wider community.

Victoria has one of the most culturally and religiously diverse multicultural societies in the world. So, it's important to ensure protection against racism, vilification and hate conduct is as strong and clear as possible.

We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the Inquiry’s deliberations. We've also made a range of recommendations including:

  • expanding protected attributes to support more people and communities. This includes based on gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, sex characteristics and disability
  • addressing and responding to online hate
  • improving data collection on incidents of vilification and hatred
  • improving support for victims of vilification/hatred.

We welcome the Victorian Government’s support of the Inquiry’s recommendations. In particular, its commitment to:

  • extend the state’s anti-vilification protections beyond race and religion
  • assist people subjected to vilification to seek justice through the courts
  • better protect the community from vilification and discriminatory practices
  • boost human rights and equal opportunity for all
  • work with the Victorian community to implement policy and legislative changes.

We also welcome the Victorian Government’s commitment to ban the public display of abhorrent Nazi symbols. The VMC will work with the Victorian Government and affected communities to ensure that banning the symbol does not have unintended consequences.

This includes:

  • longstanding legitimate use by various communities
  • for genuine educational or historical purposes.

Quotes attributable to the Chairperson of the VMC, Vivienne Nguyen AM:

“Communities are genuinely concerned about the prevalence and rise of racism, vilification and discrimination, whether it be overt, subtle or systemic.”

“There is no place for racism, religious vilification or any form of hate conduct in Victoria’s multicultural society.”

“Racism hurts not only the victims but society as a whole and cannot be tolerated.”

“The Commission commends the work and leadership of the cross-party Legislative Assembly’s Legal and Social Issues Committee and welcomes the Victorian Government’s overwhelming support of the Inquiry’s recommendations.”

Reviewed 03 September 2021

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