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Rise of targeted attacks put hate crimes crackdown on the table

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Labor has moved an unopposed motion in State Parliament to hold an inquiry into the existing hate crime laws, which could lead to wide-ranging reforms.

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A parliamentary committee will now consider the concerns of ethnic and religious communities, represented by the Cohesive Communities Coalition, that there is not enough prevention, protection or punishment in Queensland.

It comes amid concerns of targeted violent attacks, and a spate of Nazi-oriented vandalism across Logan this year.

Notwithstanding those concerns specifically, the inquiry by a parliamentary committee will be broader, and extend to the LGBTIQ+ community, and also other areas overseen by the Human Rights Commission introduced by Labor.

Leader of the House Yvette D’Ath told parliament the government wanted to ensure the laws “reflect its commitment to deliver a fair and inclusive community for all Queenslanders”.

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said it was important that the terms of reference allow the committee “to consider serious vilification and hate crimes in a holistic way”.

“This will enable the Committee to consider the impacts of serious vilification and hate crime on a wide range of groups, including, women, people with a disability, older people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and the LGBTIQ+ community,” Fentiman said.

“The Committee will review and investigate our existing laws, to determine whether they are operating effectively, consistent with community expectations and whether they are suitable to deal with modern challenges, such as online vilification.”

Peter Forday, Chair of Multicultural Australia and Co-Chair of the Cohesive Communities Coalition, welcomed the move. He will propose the introduction of community scrutiny panels, victim protection orders and injunctions.”

“This is a moment to define the type of community that Queenslanders want, now and into the future, for ourselves and our families, friends and neighbours,” Forday said.

The committee will call for submissions and hold public hearings.

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