Hate speech laws have existed in various forms in Australia for well over a decade. Unlike other countries, such as the United States and Canada, they have not faced constitutional hurdles to their existence. The general acceptance of hate speech laws in Australia opens intellectual space for the exploration of a range of interesting questions regarding the laws’ operation, the underlying values they pursue and the context within which hate speech is occurring.
How should the regulation of hate speech be balanced against Australia’s political and cultural commitment to freedom of speech? Who are the hate speakers and how does their speech manifest? What types of hate speech are targeted by existing laws? How are these laws enforced? How can the laws be changed to improve governments’ response to hate speech? How does the emergence of bills of rights affect the regulation of hate speech?
Drawing on a broad range of academic and practical experts, this book addresses these questions. The essays in first part of this book outline the landscape within which hate speech regulation occurs. They include consideration of the legal, policy and historical context for vilification, the ways in which the language of hatred is changing, and a new look at the longstanding debate about the tension between freedom of speech and hate speech as a conflict between liberty and equality. In part two, the book considers the practice of hate speech regulation in a variety of Australian institutions and includes practical perspectives from the legal profession.
In the final part the essays consider hate speech regulation within a broader human rights framework, taking into account the emergence of bills of rights in Australian states.
Table of Contents
Part I - Hate Speech and Freedom of Speech in Australia: The Landscape
Speech and the Australian Legal and Political Landscape
The Volatility of Racism in Australia
The Reconstruction of Hate Language
How to Think about the Problem of Hate Speech: Understanding a Comparative Debate
Part II - Regulating Hate Speech in Practice
Parliamentary Privilege and Homosexual Vilification
Problems with Evidence in Hate Speech Cases
Hate Speech, Sedition and the War on Terror
Salvation and the State: Religious Vilification Laws and Religious Speech
Part III - Hate Speech and the Emerging Human Rights Framework
Parliamentary Deliberation about Religious Vilification Legislation
Simon Evans and Carolyn Evans
Does a Bill of Rights Matter? Comparing Australia and New Zealand