Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Crimes Act - 93Z

Brown gavel

The Opposition supports, and remains willing to support, legislation that would allow NSW Police powers of prosecution for publicly threatening or inciting violence on grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex or HIV/AIDS status, and moved an amendment to allow this, which the government voted down.

We don’t support allowing citizens to bring private prosecutions, which would have been permitted under the Government’s proposed amendment. We therefore opposed the legislation in the Parliament.
Our intention was always to support a law that would enhance community harmony and ensure that people don’t feel fearful in their own community.

The Government’s poorly drafted legislation risks weaponising the provision in the hands of people trying to shut down free speech. Even if people are ultimately acquitted there is the chilling effect of being threatened with having to go through a criminal prosecution.

By supporting the Government’s amendment, this reform could result in the opposite effect of what is intended and further inflame tensions within the community.

We are willing to work with the Government to improve their proposed amendments to enable NSW Police powers of prosecution.