In February of 2020, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) made a submission to the parliamentary inquiry into Victoria’s anti-vilification protections. They have made numerous recommendations which ought to concern every Australian.
I will summarise some of the most heinous recommendations I can here in layman’s terms, with reference to official publications made by the VEOHRC and its Commissioner Kristen Hilton.
It is important to note that the recommendations made by the Commission will be considered and perhaps even implemented by the Victorian Government, as they discuss possible reforms to the Racial Religious Tolerance Act (RRTA) in the coming months.
In an article published on 27 May 2020 by VEOHRC Commissioner Kristen Hilton, it is claimed that
One of the factors that has made it so difficult for people to run successful vilification cases is the high legal threshold people must meet to show that vilification has occurred.
The Commission has recommended that this legal threshold be lowered. This would no doubt lead to even more complaints being accepted by the Commission, VCAT and other jurisdictional bodies. These bodies would exploit the influx of complaints to justify increased funding for themselves while reinforcing the idea that Australia is a racist society that must be reshaped in the image of the anti-racist scum that govern us. The Commission has specifically stated
We recommend the threshold in the RRTA civil test in sections 7 and 8 be changed from prohibiting conduct that ‘incites’ hate or strong feelings to conduct that ‘expresses or is reasonably likely to incite’ hate or strong feelings.
The RRTA is the very law that Blair Cottrell was convicted under. That fiasco was ridiculous enough; now they want to set the stage for more of these show trials.
Kristen Hilton has also claimed that
A major problem of the current incitement test is that it requires consideration of the impact on a witness to hate conduct, not on the victim who experiences the harm.
In other words, she wants to give the victims of “racism” more weight in determining whether certain acts and speech constitute a breach of the RRTA. She recommends that
The best remedy to this is the introduction of a separate test for vilification that focuses on whether the person who is the target of the speech or conduct is harmed by it. This test would be an objective assessment of the harm caused and experienced from the perspective of the target, rather than having to provide evidence that a third party was motivated to act in a hateful way.
This would create a separate, highly subjective test, giving more power to “oppressed” minorities in taking up their grievances through the law-fare in the VEOHRC, VCAT and other bodies.
It is not enough for the Commission to change the RRTA for the benefit of non-Australians; they also aim to strengthen the ability of Victoria Police to prosecute individuals for hate crimes. Hilton claims
While it is appropriate that criminal offences should only apply to the most serious conduct, the current criminal test is too high.
According to the Commission’s recommendation
Sections 24 and 25 of the RRTA only prohibit the offender intentionally engaging in conduct that they know is likely to incite hatred and to threaten physical harm towards other persons. The test should be simplified and revised to prohibit intentional or reckless hate conduct and it should prohibit threats to harm or incitement, rather than requiring both to be unlawful. The serious vilification offences also need to be incorporated into the Crimes Act. This would improve visibility of hate as a crime and streamline Victoria Police enforcement. In our consultations, Victoria Police indicated that the location of the serious vilification offences in the RRTA is a barrier to enforcement. Moving the offence to the Crimes Act would make it clear to police that serious vilification is a crime.
Furthermore, one major hurdle the VEOHRC is hell-bent on fixing is that of anonymity. In many complaints they receive, the “racists” cannot actually be identified because they may be operating under pseudonyms. Unless the Commission has a name and a method of contacting them, then complaints cannot progress to mediation. Hilton laments that once upon a time the Commission:
received a complaint about a Facebook page vilifying Chinese people; however, the owner of the Facebook page could not be identified so we could not accept the complaint. If we had the power to direct Facebook to provide us with the email address for the owner of the page, we could accept the complaint and offer dispute resolution.
In order to overcome this hurdle and prosecute anonymous Whites, the Commission is asking for “appropriate powers” so they
could compel the provision of documents to help identify potential perpetrators who hide behind online anonymity and engage them in our voluntary dispute resolution process.
So, if one were to make racist comments online, the Commission wants to have the power to ask Facebook for your personal details in order to file a dispute resolution request between the complainant and the respondent. They would even like the police to potentially get involved in identifying culprits. This demonstrates just how far Big Tech, the authorities and cultural Marxist bodies are colluding in their quest to impose their sick, degenerate cultural Marxist dystopia.
Lastly, the Commission would like to ban ownership and distribution of “hate material”. Hilton envisages “As part of a broader suite of reforms, consideration should also be given to making it a crime to publicly display symbols, images and materials that are designed to incite or spread hate. This can include, but should not be limited to, Nazi symbols”.
If the VEOHRC had it their way they would make it illegal not just to execute the Roman salute in public but also the distribution and ownership of edgy posters, stickers, flags etc. They highlight this in their own report. On page of 77 of the Submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections (31 January 2020, available online), it states:
5.3.5 The definition of prohibited conduct should be broadened in line with recent reforms to the criminal vilification offences in NSW, the Commission considers that the definition of prohibited conduct for the purposes of civil and criminal vilification laws in Victoria should be broadened.
This will help to clarify that prohibited conduct includes any form of communication, conduct or distribution or dissemination of material to the public. It will also clarify that conduct will constitute public conduct even if it occurs on private land. In particular, the term ‘conduct’ under Victorian law should adopt the definition of ‘public act’ under s 93Z(5) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) to include:
- 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
- any conduct (including actions and gestures and the wearing or display of clothing, signs, flags, emblems and insignia) observable by the public; and
- the distribution or dissemination of any matter to the public.
For the avoidance of doubt, an act may be a public act even if it occurs on private land.
While not yet law, the recommendations may well be foisted upon us at some point in the near future. We must keep an eye on the evolution of these proposed reforms. It ought to concern every freedom-loving Australian that perhaps one day they could be raided by the authorities and arrested because they own certain material the state deems “offensive,” whether they be in the form of flags, flyers, posters or anything else.
In the state of Victoria, where wrong is right and right is wrong, we should assume these recommendations may well become law. This is a state which has recently allowed Victorians to change their gender on their birth certificates without undertaking surgery. It is a state that has introduced restrictions on our freedom so willingly in order to combat COVID-19. It is a state that has some of the harshest discrimination laws in Australia (the RRTA) to compliment the Federal law, Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
Now it is seeking to expand the RRTA in order to make it harder for Australians to express themselves, thus setting the scene for more Blair Cottrell-like cases in future for those who refuse to stay silent.
It is high time we Australians reaffirm ourselves to our roots and take a leaf from the book one of our greatest poets, Henry Lawson, on how to deal with the current state of affairs.
So we must fly a rebel flag,
As others did before us,
And we must sing a rebel song
And join in rebel chorus.
We’ll make the tyrants feel the sting
O’ those that they would throttle;
They needn’t say the fault is ours
If blood should stain the wattle!