Regulating Racism: Racial Vilification Laws in Australia



Publication Details

L. McNamara, Regulating Racism: Racial Vilification Laws in Australia (2002).


This book examines the range of models of legal regulation which have been adopted in Australia to deal with various forms of racial vilification-including criminalisation, civil liability via the creation of statutory torts, and civil liability via the human rights dispute resolution system. It reviews the history and current operation of all relevant federal, state and territorial laws, via an examination of relevant reports, legislation, parliamentary debates, statistical data, and judicial and quasi-judicial decisions. The factors which have influenced the choice of different legislative models for the regulation of racial vilification are identified, and the implications of the choices that have been made for the level of protection provided for victims of racial vilification are discussed. In particular, this book analyses the impact of free speech 'rights' and values on the initial choice and subsequent modification of regulatory models by legislatures, and on the application and interpretation of relevant legislation by human rights agencies, prosecuting authorities, tribunals and courts. The capacity of existing regulatory models to achieve the underlying objectives of racial vilification laws in a democratic multicultural society are examined, including an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches to the regulation of racial vilification which have been utilised to date in Australia.

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