A Victorian MP is pushing to broaden the state’s anti-vilification laws in an effort to crack down on unapproved speech.
Victorian upper house MP Fiona Patten, leader of the Reason Party — formerly known as the Sex Party — proposed the amendments to the Racial and Religious Tolerance Bill 2001 to include gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.
The changes would also include substituting “race” with “protected attribute” and substituting “incites” with “likely to incite hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, that person or class of persons.”
According to Patten, “Hate speech lives and breeds in social media feeds and the comments sections of news articles. Women are shamed and bullied through the everyday mediums that we use to consume media and communication.
“The Bill draws a clear line as to the racist, homophobic and gendered hate speech that we will not tolerate in Victoria. It is time that we take personal responsibility for what we say online.”
Morgan Begg, of the Institute of Public Affairs, warned the laws are “vaguely worded and contain no objective standard.”
“Each judge will have their own view on what is ‘likely to incite hatred’ or ‘severe ridicule’. This bill not only infringes on the freedom of speech of everyday Victorians… but the media, too.”
What’s also important to consider is the impact this law will have on churches and the Christian community. If passed, we’ll essentially see portions of the Bible made practically illegal.
Can a Christian publicly agree with Paul’s description of homosexuality in Romans 1 without risk of being charged with vilifying a “protected attribute”? Can a pastor preach on Scriptures that affirm a biblical view of sexuality and marriage without somebody, somewhere deeming it “likely to incite” contempt or ridicule?
If this bill comes into law, how long do you think it will be until the Bible itself is deemed ‘hate speech’? And if ‘hate speech’ is illegal, how long do you think it will be until selling a Bible is entirely prohibited?