The Victorian Greens have called the Victorian Labor Government “cowards” for attempting to delay overdue anti-vilification reform.
Earlier today, the Greens introduced their Racial and Religious Tolerance Amendment (Anti-Vilification) Bill 2023 to the lower house in the Victorian Parliament.
This bill would amend the state’s anti-vilification laws – which currently only protect Victorians from racial and religious vilification – to include vilification on the basis of sexuality, gender and gender expression.
It would also amend the laws to make it unlawful to vilify someone on the basis of their HIV/AIDS status, intersex status or disability.
However, a motion to debate the bill in the lower house was blocked by the Government, despite support from both the Greens and the Opposition.
The Premier also refused to acknowledge the Greens’ LGBTIQA+ spokesperson, Gabrielle de Vietri, and turned his back to Ms de Vietri for the entirety of her speech on the bill.
On the day before IDAHOBIT, Ms de Vietri, who is bisexual, said it was devastating that the Government was trying to delay this much-needed reform, and that the time to act was now, not in 18 months.
She added that until the state’s anti-vilification laws were expanded, LGBTIQA+ communities would continue to face increasing hate speech, abuse, and threats.
While the Greens weren’t able to debate their bill in the lower house, the party has now introduced their bill in the upper house, where the Government doesn’t have a majority and therefore can’t prevent a debate, or vote.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens LGBTIQA+ spokesperson, Gabrielle de Vietri MP:
“We need to reform our anti-vilification laws as a matter of urgency, and the Greens are ready to act now.
“Yet the Victorian Labor Government would rather stifle debate and kick this can down the road.
“The Government has known about the need to expand our anti-vilification laws for years now, but refused to act.
“And now we’re seeing neo-Nazis, the far-right, and even members of our own Parliament feel emboldened to spout anti-LGBTIQA+ hate. It’s pushing our queer community underground again – telling them that they should be scared and hide.
“If equality is ‘non-negotiable’, what is the Government waiting for?
“It’s clear that Labor is playing political games with our queer community. They’re either too cowardly to take action, or delaying this bill because they want their name stamped on it when it’s eventually passed.
“Well Labor needs to get its ego out of the way, stop worrying about getting the credit, and get on with these critical reforms.”