Racial vilification in WA

‘WA court dismisses charges over racial insult’
AM – Friday, 15 September, 2006
Reporter: David Weber

TONY EASTLEY: In Western Australia the Attorney-General Jim McGinty has endorsed a court’s decision to dismiss a racial vilification charge against an Aboriginal teenager.

The Kalgoorlie Children’s Court dismissed charges against the 16-year-old girl, who allegedly called a Caucasian woman a “white slut”, among other things, as she attacked her in the street.

The Magistrate hearing the case found the remarks were made but she said racial vilification laws were intended to deal with severe abuse, and not petty name-calling.

[The relevant legislation appears to be available here as the Criminal Code Amendment (Racial Vilification) Bill 2004; a WA Government Consultation Paper (August 2004) is also available online.]

Jim McGinty supports the decision, saying Kalgoorlie police were wrong to proceed with the racial vilification case.

David Weber reports.

DAVID WEBER: The girl had pleaded guilty to the assault charge and the Magistrate handed down a four-month intensive supervision order. But Magistrate Kate Auty said the racial slur was not substantial enough to be punished under racial vilification laws.

Penalties under the laws were substantially increased after a spate of racist graffiti attacks in Perth. The graffiti targeted Jewish, Chinese and African people and it was attributed to the Australian Nationalists Movement.

[And the persons responsible? Damon Paul Blaxall, Daniel Tyrone Klavins, Frank James Lemin, Shannon Mark Post, and Ben Weerheym.]

In this case, the maximum penalty available was six-month’s detention…

DAVID WEBER: Melissa Blackney was the woman who was assaulted. She’d told the court she likened the Aboriginal girl’s comments to schoolyard insults. She said she was concerned about the physical assault, not the verbal one, and that’s why she went to the police.

But the prosecutor Amanda Forrester says the victim doesn’t need to hear racial abuse, or even be offended by it, for someone to be charged.

AMANDA FORRESTER: One would understand that the complainant might not have necessarily been upset before she was assaulted but when she’s on the ground and racial slurs are being used while she’s being kicked that, I would have thought, would have been an entirely different story to most people.

If she’d heard those particular insults while she was being assaulted, one might think that she would have taken them slightly more seriously.

DAVID WEBER: The person involved doesn’t have to hear them?

AMANDA FORRESTER: Well our case was certainly that. This is new legislation and it hasn’t been tested in any other case that we’re aware of and the fact is that in this case it hasn’t been tested either because the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the facts which it said based the charge.

DAVID WEBER: Was this charge brought for the intention of this being a test case?

AMANDA FORRESTER: No.

[Although, having never previously been enforced, it was, by definition, a test case!]

DAVID WEBER: This decision has been welcomed by the Aboriginal Legal Service.

The Chief Executive Dennis Eggington.

DENNIS EGGINGTON: For a person who is ethnically or culturally different [that is, from the white norm, presumably], that suffers some serious or substantial abuse or is severely ridiculed, is a different thing altogether and we always thought this was a case of a little bit of aggro, [a] bit of name calling and it wasn’t the right one to bring to court and it seems that we were right in that assumption…

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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16 Responses to Racial vilification in WA

  1. JW Frogen says:

    This Aboriginal female should never have been charged under this absurd law in the first place. For the attack yes, for speech, no.

    A man is being charged for a Youtube video where he makes anti Jewish comments. Putting aside Jews are not a race, this anti free speech law is absurd. So the government is not only setting themselves up as lord of what we can or can not say it is also actively searching the Internet to monitor you and find you! CALLING BIG BROTHER!

    Who decides what is racial vilification and what is truth? Who is so godlike to determine what we can or cannot say? If I say many Aborigines have a problem with violence where I work, which is true, is this racial vilification? If it is true why should I not be allowed to say it? Even if it is untrue they can rebut it, prove me wrong. That is what free people do. They do not jail people for an opinion.

    Can I bring racial vilification claims against Muslims for the violence advocated in the Koran against non-Muslims?

    This PC idiocy is a mortal threat to the very foundations of free society.

    It is a gross violation of the very notion of Enlightenment democracy where free speech is a vital component of the very nature of freedom.

  2. weez says:

    Hate speech is never free speech. See UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 30.

    Now, fuck it, who wants pie?

  3. JW Frogen says:

    Yes, the UN is a su[i]table guardian of what people can or can not say, in pa[r]ticular as most of her [sic] members have never even entered the democratic Enlightenment.

  4. @ndy says:

    I see that international relations, law and history are not your strong points ‘JW Frogen’.

  5. JW Frogen says:

    Oh, to the contrary, I worked with the UN in Bosnia (a sad clown in that circus) and so I know that anyone that believes a UN Convention on speech will be followed by most [of] the world, even those in the world who signed it, or that one can end racial hate by censoring speech may not really understand the difference between UN statements and power reality.

    Start with Voltaire and work your way from there.

  6. @ndy says:

    Huh?

    Where, exactly, did I state that “a UN Convention on speech will be followed by most [of] the world”? Or that “one can end racial hate by censoring speech”?

    Go on — I dare ya!

  7. JW Frogen says:

    Boring.

  8. @ndy says:

    Perhaps. But correct nonetheless, silly.

  9. lumpnboy says:

    @ndy, I think Frogen was responding to Weez’s comment that “Hate speech is never free speech. See UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 30.” Which, unless ironic I guess, does seem to suggest that reading a UN declaration will somehow demonstrate that hate speech isn’t free speech. Either by being persuasive or because what it says to be correct simply is, collapsing political definitions into international law.

    But either way, while one could disagree about how to view the “democratic Enlightenment”, it certainly isn’t immediately ridiculous to assert that there is one and that those who make up the membership of the UN are in many cases not much of an embodiment thereof. Certainly not any more ridiculous than arguing by citing UN declarations in that way. So, on the basis of what he says here, i’m not sure why you made that assessment of Frogen’s strong points. His response after that may not be the most direct response to that assessment, but again his commenting on the idea that people will follow UN declarations is probably a response to the apparent credit given to such by Weez, and so not exactly absurd in itself, or abusive, especially given what I think it would be reasonable to take as Weez’s slightly dismissive tone.

    Do you know something I don’t about this person?

  10. @ndy says:

    lumpnboy,

    I don’t know anything about this person. My comment was intended to highlight the fact that views are being attributed to me which I have never actually advanced — something I find quite annoying, and a hallmark of trolling. Otherwise, I agree with your statement. That is:

      reading a UN declaration will not, in and of itself, demonstrate that ‘hate speech isn’t free speech’;
      there was something called the (democratic) Enlightenment;
      the states which compose the membership of ‘United Nations’ are in many cases — and to put it mildly — neither especially ‘democratic’ nor ‘enlightened’.

    I would also add, for the sake of clarity, that the mere existence of a declaration concerning rights does not constitute evidence of their embodiment in practice.

    In any event:

      Article 30.

      * Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

    Thus, to further elucidate Weezil’s argument: insofar as ‘hate speech’ — understood as being directed at “the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms” set forth in the Declaration, whether by way of a “State, group or person” — constitutes a violation of this Article, it is not ‘protected’ by the Declaration.

    Obviously, there are a number of issues which might be discussed in this context, but again, I do not, in reality, and as JW Frogen implies, believe that “a UN Convention on speech will be followed by most [of] the world” or that “one can end racial hate by censoring speech”.

  11. JW Frogen says:

    I was not responding in order of name, I was responding in context.

    Shit, I am drunk and even I can get that.

    Please don’t get the UN whooping my ass.

  12. @ndy says:

    Fair enough: please to be more careful in future.

    As for the UN: unfortunately, the black helicopters are already on their way.

  13. JW Frogen says:

    Oh my, more helicopters!

    Fuck us all with a blue helmet.

  14. JW Frogen says:

    Careful? On the Internet. This is THUNDERDOME!!!!!!

  15. @ndy says:

    But what we want is what’s beyond the Thunderdome!

  16. JW Frogen says:

    I would thunder Tina’s dome anytime.

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!

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