Joint Statement in Response to House of Representatives Motion
The Australian Muslim community commends those Members of Parliament who have called for greater protection for religious communities from incitement of hatred or violence, and calls on them now to go a step further, and support the legislative protection proposed by Australian Muslim community.
Today a number of Government and Opposition Members of Parliament rose to speak to a bipartisan motion tabled by Member for Moreton, Graham Perrett and Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta.
Graham Perrett, Anne Aly, Chris Hayes and Anne Stanley from Federal Labor spoke with great concern about the rise in violent incidents and threats against the Australian Muslim community.
Julian Leeser, a Government MP, also spoke passionately about the rise in racial and religious vilification. He said anti-Semitic hate incidents were the worst he had seen in 27 years.
He said that 'with social media, unchallenged anti-semitic ideas spread quickly.’ The same is happening for anti-Muslim hatred and prejudice.
John Alexander, a Government MP, stated we have to target racism and ignorance, by ‘identifying and rejecting it… with full force and conviction.’ Scott Buccholz, another Government MP, added similar sentiments.
Regrettably, Gladys Liu, a Government MP and Member for Chisholm, put forward a position that legislative protections against incitement to hatred and violence were adequate, which is far from the truth and misleading.
Ms Liu pointed to a law in the criminal code that has never been used to protect religious groups from incitement to violence, despite countless examples being drawn to the attention of police in the public domain.
That law is widely described as being completely ineffectual and unfit for deterring incitement to hatred or violence.
All Members of Parliament must now go that further step in recognising that to adequately address incitement to hatred and violence, we must make it unlawful.
Dr Anne Aly MP reiterated the importance of ‘moral and legal standards’ in making it clear that, ‘We have no tolerance for hatred, we have no tolerance for vilification, we have no tolerance for people who would target individuals of religious minorities because of their faith.’
Individuals of faith need a civil remedy to bring parties to the table who publicly endanger them and their community by inciting hatred or violence.
The Australian Muslim community has proposed such a remedy for the Religious Discrimination Bill, which they are calling the Christchurch provision.
The Religious Discrimination Bill needs to respond to this egregious infraction on freedom of belief.
Speech or conduct that vilifies, harasses, incites hatred or violence against entire religious communities is the first stage in hate-fueled crime and violence, and it must be made unlawful.
The Joint Submission can be found at www.amcns.org.au/submission2019