Historic hate crime and serious vilification laws passed in Queensland

Published Thursday, 12 October, 2023 at 06:12 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

  • Queensland Parliament has passed legislation to increase penalties for hate crimes and serious vilification.
  • The legislation bans the public display, distribution or publication of prohibited hate symbols without reasonable excuse.


The public display, distribution or publication of prohibited hate symbols will become a criminal offence in Queensland, significantly strengthening the state’s response to hate crimes.

The historic laws passed in Parliament on Thursday will protect Queenslanders from the distress associated with the display of symbols that are representative of an ideology of extreme prejudice against a particular religious, ethnic, gender, or other relevant group.

Displaying, publishing or distributing prohibited symbols in a way that might reasonably be expected to cause someone to feel menaced, harassed or offended will be a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment.

The offence is intended to capture a broad range of circumstances, including the public display of tattoos and the public distribution or publication of prohibited symbols online.

The new legislation will enable hate symbols to be identified in a regulation.

The Attorney-General will consult with the Commissioner of Police, the Crime and Corruption Commission Chair and the Queensland Human Rights Commissioner to identify which symbols of hate are to be criminalised.

The legislation has provision for reasonable excuses to the new offence, such as public display for genuine artistic, religious, educational, historical, legal, or law enforcement purposes.

Criminals who commit offences while motivated by hatred or serious contempt against a particular person or group’s characteristics are liable to receive tougher penalties including custodial sentences.

These offences include going armed as to cause fear, threatening violence, assault occasioning bodily harm, wilful damage, stalking, harassment, and public nuisance.

Quotes attributable to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Yvette D’Ath:

“Serious vilification and hate crimes have no place in our communities.

“The effects are corrosive, eroding trust and depriving individuals of their safety and sense of belonging.

“Now, for the first time in our state’s history, Queensland will have an offence dedicated to prohibiting the public display of symbols of hate.

“These reforms have been developed in careful consultation with key multicultural and legal groups and are among the toughest in the country.

“Criminals who commit serious crimes motivated by hate and prejudice will face sterner penalties.

“Those who publicly display, publish or disseminate hate symbols which might reasonably be expected to intimidate or menace or offend a particular group will also face penalties.

“These behaviours will not be tolerated.

“It is our hope that this new legislation will encourage members of our community to report hate serious vilification, because they will have greater confidence that perpetrators will be held to account.”