Australia News & Commentary State

New laws mean up to three years in prison for threatening or inciting violence against people based on race, religion or sexuality.

The New South Wales Government has issued a warning on Facebook after new laws came into force this week. The post reads, “Anyone who threatens or incites violence against people based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex or HIV/AIDS status in NSW will now face up to three years in prison.”

According to the Crimes Amendment (Publicly Threatening and Inciting Violence) Act of 2018, “A person who, by public act, intentionally or recklessly threatens or incites violence towards another person or group of persons on any of the following grounds is guilty of an offence…”

The grounds include race, religious belief or affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, and if the person has HIV or AIDS.

According to the legislation, “public act” is defined as:

(a) any form of communication (including speaking, writing, displaying notices, playing of recorded material, broadcasting and communicating through social media and other electronic methods to the public, and (b) any conduct (including actions and gestures and wearing or displaying of clothing, signs, flags, emblems and insignia) observable by the public, and (c) the distribution or dissemination of any matter to the public.

Individuals found to have broken the new law face $11,000 in fines and up to three years imprisonment. Corporations face a maximum penalty of $55,000.

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