Jewish community supports recommendations to toughen hate crime

The Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies (QJBD), the roof body of Queensland Jewry, has welcomed the Queensland Parliament’s review of hate crime and vilification laws which, among other things, recommends a criminal offence that prohibits the display of Nazi hate symbols.

QJBD president, Jason Steinberg, said the various recommendations were a significant step forward in the fight against hate in Queensland. 

“The Jewish community is delighted with the recommendations published in the committee’s report and we thank them for reflecting many of our submission’s views in their paper,” Mr Steinberg said.

“We are also pleased to see the recommendation to move racial hatred and vilification into the criminal code because perpetrators need to know that Queensland society will not tolerate harassment and incitement based on someone’s attributes such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

“The work of the committee to ensure the views of the Jewish community, along with other communities, must be acknowledged and their efforts to propose real changes that mean people can live without fear, and be safe from harassment and incitement.” 

Incidents of antisemitism have been on the rise in Queensland, clearly demonstrated in a 2021 survey by the QJBD that revealed 6 in 10 Jews had been a victim of racial abuse and vilification.

The QJBD’s submission to the Inquiry in July 2021 provided 42 pages of recommendations, examples and case studies of why the laws needed to change to protect Jewish people, and others, from attacks.

Recent incidents include a Nazi flag being hung out of a unit building above a synagogue in Brisbane and a Jewish man being physically assaulted while on his way to a synagogue.

“If the committee’s recommendations were enacted before these incidents occurred, the perpetrators would have found themselves facing tougher charges, instead of getting a ‘slap’ on the wrist,” Mr Steinberg said.

“We know look forward to the Queensland Government acting swiftly on the legislative changes and working through the other recommendations to create a safer Queensland.” 

There are 17 recommendations made by the Queensland Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Safety Committee in their report which is expected to be tabled in Parliament at some stage during 2022.