Racial Hatred Laws 20 Years On
Frank Brennan SJ
Twenty years ago Frank Brennan wrote a piece for Eureka Street in which he said: "Incitement to racial hatred and hostility, or hate speech as it is sometimes called, is conduct by an offender or a group that is likely to cause a second person or group to act in an adverse manner towards a third person or group on the grounds of their race, causing that third person or group to fear that violence may be used against them because of their race. Each element — cause, likelihood and grounds — would have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. Advocates of such laws concede that there is little prospect of successful prosecutions — there have only been one or two in Canada, for example — and argue instead for the symbolic value of the law." In this recent essay in Eureka Street Frnak Brennan revisits the issue in the light of Attorney General Brandis' proposal. Read the full essay.