Australians in the state of Queensland could be jailed for up to three years for sharing social media posts that violate sweeping hate crime laws.
The Criminal Code (Serious Vilification and Hate Crimes) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 proposes tougher penalties for those who commit crimes motivated by prejudice on the grounds of race, religion, sexuality or gender identity.
The proposed laws would increase the maximum prison time for making bigoted statements from six months to three years.
Does fashionable anti-white racism emanating from the US count as bigotry? Surely, on technical grounds, it should. Actually, much of the woke agenda is discriminatory and arguably bigoted.
Inflammatory social media posts fall under the purview of the bill, which prohibits the vilification of specified groups through “any form of communication to the public,” including via electronic means.
Sharing a Nazi symbol on social media, or carrying it around publicly, will also result in jail time.
The bill introduced into the Queensland Parliament in March would modify the criminal code to introduce a “prohibited symbols offence”. This would ban the display of hate symbols, including those tied to Nazism and the Islamic State.
As part of the clampdown on hate symbols, Queensland will ban the display of Nazi swastika tattoos. The Queensland government says its hate crime laws will be among the strongest in Australia.
Displaying a swastika is already illegal in Victoria and New South Wales (NSW), with Western Australia set to follow and South Australia also considering the issue. In NSW, it results in a year-long jail term or a $100,000 fine.
Like NSW and Victoria before it, Queensland will exempt Hindus, Buddhists and Jains, for whom swastikas are religious symbols. There will also be an exemption for when hate symbols are used for educational purposes.
Isn’t it better to allow people to display swastikas and Islamic State symbols, so we know which ones are nutty or dangerous? Freedom of speech is always better than (quasi-) government censorship. Pushing such bigotry out of sight does not make it go away, it just becomes invisible.