'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

  • Joy Moore
    signed 2024-04-17 07:50:46 +1200
  • Tracy Donaldson
    signed 2024-04-17 07:26:25 +1200
  • Dawn Astin
    signed 2024-04-17 06:52:22 +1200
  • Leighton Packer
    signed 2024-04-17 05:55:23 +1200
  • Malcolm Butler
    signed 2024-04-17 05:07:55 +1200
  • Marian Spencer
    signed 2024-04-16 23:21:04 +1200
  • Shelley Harwood
    signed 2024-04-16 23:17:00 +1200
  • Maria Sorenson
    signed 2024-04-16 22:04:06 +1200
  • Joelle Martin
    signed 2024-04-16 21:53:59 +1200
  • Aron Murtagh
    signed 2024-04-16 21:34:34 +1200
  • Charlotte May
    signed 2024-04-16 20:44:53 +1200
  • lindsay ellis-smith
    signed 2024-04-16 20:35:34 +1200
  • Raymond Epskamp
    signed 2024-04-16 19:52:39 +1200
  • Loraine Dobson
    signed 2024-04-16 19:52:13 +1200
  • Kevin Plato
    signed 2024-04-16 19:43:03 +1200
    Hate speech laws are not for the protection of minorities. They are a tool to persecute, marginalise and exclude other minorities that do not have woke privilege. Also proposed laws were to have a maximum imprisonment of three years. Is anyone who has been convicted of a crime worthy of two years cannot be elected to parliament it is just a means to keep people with certain views from being represented
  • wayne ivey
    signed 2024-04-16 19:39:40 +1200
  • David Duff
    signed 2024-04-16 19:31:50 +1200
  • Alexander Zubkov
    signed 2024-04-16 19:20:33 +1200
  • Susan Smith
    signed 2024-04-16 18:52:13 +1200
    ‘Hate’ is entirely subjective. You cannot enforce laws around feelings and opinions. ‘Hate’ crime legislation that would introduce unacceptable subjectivity into our laws, and be used to target unpopular perspectives and unorthodox beliefs.
  • Glenn Stempher
    signed 2024-04-16 18:46:10 +1200
  • nigel heywood
    signed 2024-04-16 18:00:18 +1200
  • Kc Loh Loh
    signed 2024-04-16 16:14:33 +1200
  • Robert Bunn
    signed 2024-04-16 15:39:07 +1200
  • Ian Clay
    signed 2024-04-16 15:34:06 +1200
    What next? Hate thoughts! A slippery slope that no one should be treading.
  • Victoria Sinvlair
    signed 2024-04-16 15:26:06 +1200
  • Neville Young
    signed 2024-04-16 15:26:00 +1200
  • Douwe Goedhart
    signed 2024-04-16 14:31:02 +1200
  • Michael Ryan
    signed 2024-04-16 13:21:29 +1200
  • Lee Atkinson
    signed 2024-04-16 12:16:20 +1200
  • Cam parsonson
    signed 2024-04-16 11:17:46 +1200

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