New religious vilification laws come into effect

Published 13 November 2023

A new law that prohibits vilification on the grounds of religious belief, affiliation or activity came into effect on 12 November 2023.

The Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Vilification) Act 2023 amends the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (the Act) to make it unlawful to, by a public act, incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons, because of their religious belief, affiliation or activity.

A ‘public act’ includes any form of public communication or conduct, verbal and non-verbal.

The amendments in the Act are modelled on existing provisions that make vilification unlawful on the grounds of race, homosexuality, transgender status and HIV/AIDS status.

The new law will also protect people who do not hold a religious belief or affiliation, or who do not engage in religious activity.

A complaint of religious vilification may be made to Anti-Discrimination NSW, which will investigate and attempt to resolve it by conciliation.

In certain circumstances, a complaint may be referred to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for determination. If a complaint is substantiated, NCAT may make a range of orders, including for an apology or for damages of up to $100,000.

Learn more.

Last updated:

14 Nov 2023

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