The Victorian Multicultural Commission welcomes the tabling of the Legal and Social Issues Committee’s Inquiry into anti-vilification protections Report. The Commission thanks the Committee and its members on the comprehensive and well considered Report.
It is particularly pleasing to see that the report recommends both strengthening anti-vilification legislation and to expand the protections from race and religion to people based on gender and/or sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression, sex characteristics and/or intersex status, disability, HIV/AIDS status and personal association.
As part of the process, the Commission presented to the Committee and made two submissions highlighting a range of issues and making a series of recommendations pertaining to: strengthening the protections; broadening the attributes covered; the importance of accurate and reliable data collection on vilification and hatred; and the need for an ongoing community education and awareness program which the Commission is well placed to collaborate on and deliver with the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission. We are pleased that the report has incorporated these recommendations.
Recommendations pertaining to: improving accessibility and enforcement; placing a positive duty on organisations to take reasonable and proportionate steps to prevent vilification; increasing supports to individuals and communities to help navigate the reporting processes; and online vilification are critical elements in ensuring people can come forward to report and be supported to do so.
The Commission thanks everyone who presented or made submissions to the Inquiry. This would have been particularly difficult for some whose lived experiences have been fraught with vilification and exclusion. Your individual, community and organisational stories and evidence were powerful and hopefully captured in the Committee’s report.
We look forward to working with the Victorian Government, communities and stakeholders in ensuring that all individuals have a genuine sense of belonging and inclusion within our incredibly diverse society. There is no place for racism, or any other form of hate or vilification.
Reviewed 23 June 2021