The NSW government has backflipped on its promise to overhaul the state’s racial discrimination laws.
Two years ago, then-Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton pledged more power for police and courts to deal with people promoting racial animus and violence.
But today, current Attorney-General Mark Speakman confirmed there were no plans to strengthen Section 20D of the Anti-Discrimination Act.
Keep NSW Safe spokesman Vic Alhadeff said the decision was a “great disappointment”.
“Just recently a religious leader addressed a rally in Sydney and called for the murder of people of another faith, yet the law did nothing,” he said.
“It is because of such incidents that so many communities combined forces to ask the NSW government to honour a commitment to make the promotion of racist violence a crime.
“It didn’t happen, even though the law is so impotent that not a single prosecution has occurred.”
The Keep NSW Safe campaign is a group of 31 leaders and organisations committed to preventing racial violence.
Mr Alhadeff, who also serves as chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, said it was “unconscionable that one can incite violence against fellow Australians and the law is powerless to respond”.
“There is in fact no group which opposes this change, so we cannot understand what the NSW government is afraid of,” he said.
“The only people in NSW who don’t want to make the promotion and advocacy of violence on the basis of race illegal appear to be in government.”
Mr Speakman said in a statement the current laws were able to deal with those promoting racial violence.
“There are no present plans to amend section 20D of the Anti-Discrimination Act,” he said.
“Apart from section 20D, existing general criminal law provisions, including in the Crimes Act, are potentially capable of covering conduct of the kind in question.”
Not a single case under section 20D has gone to court in the last 25 years.