'Hate' is subjective: whether speech or crime

Dear Minister Goldsmith, 

'Hate' is an important term referencing a powerful emotion. Where individuals in our society are targets of hate, we must work to counter this hate and promote tolerance and inclusiveness. 

'Hate' is a powerful term, but an unavoidably subjective one; this is true whether it is used against word or action.

It is not the role of our criminal justice system or laws more generally to regulate this emotion. 

We have insisted that 'hate' speech laws would simply introduce a means to censor unpopular opinions. We applaud your decision to stop work on these proposals.  

'Hate' crime laws suffer from the same weaknesses and have no place in a liberal democracy that values freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the rule of law. 

Introducing 'hate' crime laws would see police and the judiciary tasked with deciding if one individual acted more criminally than another despite breaking the very same law, based on their motivations not their actions. 

We have no interest in defending criminal actions. If an individual breaks the law, they must be held accountable. But the law must apply impartially, regardless of who breaks it. There aren't 'right' reasons to break the law, or reasons that are 'more wrong' than others.

Breaking the law for 'hate' shouldn't stand alone as a category any more than breaking the law for 'love'. Who is impartial enough to determine objectively when either of these would apply? 

Keep our laws impartial, the rule of law strong, and our speech and consciences free. 


We call on Hon. Paul Goldsmith, the Minister of Justice, to reject all advice to develop 'hate' crime legislation that would introduce unacceptable subjectivity into our laws, and be used to target unpopular perspectives and unorthodox beliefs. 

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Showing 1385 reactions

  • Lorraine Maffey
    signed 2024-04-18 14:26:20 +1200
  • Regan Smith
    signed 2024-04-18 11:58:04 +1200
    These laws should have no place in any country, it’s just a method of control and is too subjective
  • Shane Scott
    signed 2024-04-18 09:34:12 +1200
  • Fin Moore
    signed 2024-04-18 08:02:18 +1200
    A free country operates on free speech. Enough dialogue eventually shuts down real “hate speech.” Education involves more knowledge, not less.
  • Jennifer Cunningham
    signed 2024-04-18 07:56:49 +1200
  • Leeann Walker
    signed 2024-04-18 06:39:03 +1200
  • Frame Adrianne
    signed 2024-04-17 23:49:08 +1200
  • Sonja Smith
    signed 2024-04-17 23:17:09 +1200
  • Ojan Mohammadzadehkhoey
    signed 2024-04-17 22:22:13 +1200
    If an act is a crime then the emotions of the criminal committing it is irrelevant.
  • Susan Muir
    signed 2024-04-17 22:09:07 +1200
  • Herman Veluwenkamp
    signed 2024-04-17 20:35:19 +1200
  • Shea Synott
    signed 2024-04-17 20:21:39 +1200
  • Jackie Collin
    signed 2024-04-17 20:10:45 +1200
  • Lionel Kemp
    signed 2024-04-17 20:06:15 +1200
  • Ken Burroughs
    signed 2024-04-17 18:58:59 +1200
    Hate speech laws are just another form of censorship – no thank you!
  • Claire Melrose
    signed 2024-04-17 16:52:20 +1200
  • Dan Wilkes
    signed 2024-04-17 16:39:50 +1200
    Law based on subjective arguements is neither balanced nor fair, it opens the door to vexatious misuse of the legal system.
  • David Easton
    signed 2024-04-17 15:54:59 +1200
  • John Taylor
    signed 2024-04-17 14:08:51 +1200
  • Cliff Tuckey
    signed 2024-04-17 13:37:37 +1200
  • Waaka Nene Jnr Rountree
    signed 2024-04-17 13:23:36 +1200
  • Chris Wilkins
    signed 2024-04-17 12:15:04 +1200
  • Leslie Embling
    signed 2024-04-17 09:56:12 +1200
  • Sylvia Roberyson
    signed 2024-04-17 09:51:52 +1200
  • Grant Sutton
    signed 2024-04-17 09:27:12 +1200
    All of History testifies to the absolute fact that in the absence of freedom of speech there is no freedom at all.

    We live in age where eliminating anyone expressing an opposing view has become fashionable again …with its proponents being the first to hypocritically shout they are defenders of tolerance.

    There can be no progress without the exchange of ideas.
  • Paul Jenness
    signed 2024-04-17 09:10:54 +1200
    I can see your proposed legislation being used in a form to basically outlaw anything YOU don’t like. If I were to speak about GOD’s salvation and in turn the punishment for not taking his gift then I would be deemed to have committed hate speech. Trust me, it will be used like this and YOU will have allowed it.
  • Tim Dickson
    signed 2024-04-17 08:27:46 +1200
  • Glenn Brogden
    signed 2024-04-17 08:21:54 +1200
  • David Henry
    signed 2024-04-17 08:02:37 +1200
    Freedom of speech is fundamental in a demographic society
  • Norman Leslie
    signed 2024-04-17 07:58:22 +1200

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