Tougher Penalties For Racist Crimes Clear Hurdle In Western Australia

Australian Broadcasting Corporation News Online, Oct. 20

Legislation providing for longer jail terms for racist crimes has passed through the Lower House of the Western Australian State Parliament.

Under the proposed laws, the maximum jail term for racial vilification will be lifted from two years to 14 years, although proof of the offender’s intent will still be required.

A new offence attracting a five-year jail term will be created for conduct which incites racial hatred, regardless of intent.

Attorney-General Jim McGinty says the legislation has also been amended to clearly distinguish between racial vilification and petty name-calling.

“The second amendment that was made was to make it quite clear that where somebody engages in criminal behaviour with a racist motivation, such as a racist firebombing of a Chinese restaurant, that that will be regarded as a circumstance of aggravation and punished accordingly,” he said.

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