Jewish groups have welcomed the passage of legislation in the NSW parliament this week that will make it easier to prosecute people for publicly threatening or inciting violence against a person or a group based on their race, religion or other attributes.
The laws passed the Legislative Council on Thursday night with amendments 34 to 5 – with only the four Greens Upper House MPs and the sole Animal Justice Party MP opposing.
A number of other Jewish communal organisations have been at the forefront of the campaign to bring about the changes.
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) formally congratulated NSW Premier Chris Minns and NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley for responding to the community’s concerns.
“Hate speech has no place in our society,” AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein said.
“No one should be permitted to propagate hate towards another group without facing tough consequences – and these changes aim to make it easier to bring those who offend to account.”
He said he hoped the strengthened legislation “will target those who preach hate in our community against the vulnerable”.
“The Jewish community has long advocated improvements to the existing NSW laws overseeing the prosecution of threats and incitement to violence, given that there has never been a successful prosecution under the current legislation,” Rubenstein said.
“We now hope that it will result in prosecutions for those who spread hate in our community.
“If we are to strive to maintain our harmonious society that is free from religious and racial discrimination and incitement to violence, then it is essential that our relevant laws are workable and enforceable.”
The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) applauded the passage of the Bill.
It also took aim at lower house Greens MP Jenny Leong, who during a debate on the Bill during the week referred to the state roof body as the “very loud Jewish Board of Deputies”.
“We make no apology for advocating for the interests of the Jewish community, particularly at a time of unprecedented antisemitism,” the JBD said on social media.
“Unsurprisingly, the Greens refused to support changes to make it easier to prosecute those who publicly threaten or incite violence against others based on their religion, race, sexuality or other immutable characteristics.”