'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

  • Brian Bates
    signed 2024-04-16 10:24:55 +1200
  • Maurice Weaver
    signed 2024-04-16 10:10:02 +1200
  • Maree Docherty
    signed 2024-04-16 10:02:03 +1200
  • Maria Varlamova
    signed 2024-04-16 09:39:18 +1200
    Free speech stands as the bedrock of our liberties, the guardian of our democracy. It embodies the essence of individual autonomy, the right to express thoughts, beliefs, and ideas without fear of retribution. In its embrace lies the power to challenge authority, to foster innovation, and to provoke change. Yet, its value transcends mere words; it symbolizes the essence of a free society, where diverse voices flourish, ideas collide, and progress thrives. Let us safeguard this precious right, for in its defense, we fortify the foundations of our liberty.
  • Maree Royden
    signed 2024-04-16 08:54:31 +1200
  • Bruce Mcdonald
    signed 2024-04-16 08:50:55 +1200
  • Iwan Naude
    signed 2024-04-16 07:42:58 +1200
    Hate speech laws are open to misuse, a fix that doesn’t work for a problem that doesn’t exist
  • Paul Mundt
    signed 2024-04-16 07:33:01 +1200
  • Patrick Farren
    signed 2024-04-16 07:16:13 +1200
  • Hilary Oxley
    signed 2024-04-16 06:59:33 +1200
  • Amanda Turner
    signed 2024-04-16 05:46:10 +1200
    People should have the same Rights, there should not be favour over one group, because they consider themselves a minority. People may not like what someone says, but that’s the beauty of freedom, otherwise we would all walk around in fear of offending. And No one is perfect and putting restrictive laws to control, would only put those who are pushing for such laws to have dominance over those they deem to be the problem.
  • Trina Pion
    signed 2024-04-16 04:40:04 +1200
  • Tania Archer
    signed 2024-04-16 04:39:22 +1200
  • lorraine ferguson
    signed 2024-04-16 01:01:39 +1200
  • Susie Sonclair
    signed 2024-04-15 23:17:21 +1200
  • Nicole Way
    signed 2024-04-15 22:52:03 +1200
  • John Nesbitt
    signed 2024-04-15 22:15:13 +1200
    It’s obvious!
  • Vicky Jeffery
    signed 2024-04-15 22:04:47 +1200
  • Johanna O'Connell
    signed 2024-04-15 21:54:42 +1200
  • Clint Trewin
    signed 2024-04-15 21:44:30 +1200
  • Robyn Pengelly
    signed 2024-04-15 20:51:57 +1200
  • Rod Davis
    signed 2024-04-15 20:42:23 +1200
  • Richard Braddon-Parsons
    signed 2024-04-15 20:25:18 +1200
  • Raewyn Sharp
    signed 2024-04-15 20:23:41 +1200
  • Phil Elliott
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  • Warren Sampson
    signed 2024-04-15 20:11:35 +1200
  • Ronald Terei
    signed 2024-04-15 19:57:04 +1200
  • Dianna Warren
    signed 2024-04-15 19:54:31 +1200
  • Brent Adamson
    signed 2024-04-15 19:49:04 +1200
  • Wayne Mackie
    signed 2024-04-15 19:46:40 +1200

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