On 12 November 2023, the Anti-Discrimination (Religious Vilification) Act 2023 (NSW) came into effect, to prohibit vilification on the basis of religious belief, affiliation or activity. It is an amendment to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, which already overs vilification on the grounds of race, homosexuality, transgender status and HIV/AIDS status.
Under the new Part 4BA of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, “religious vilification” is defined as a public act that incites hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons, because of their religious belief, affiliation, or activity, or because they do not have a religious belief or affiliation, or do not engage in religious activity.
A “public act” includes any form of communication to the public, including speaking, writing, printing, displaying notices, broadcasting, telecasting, screening and playing of tapes or other recorded material, and conduct observable by the public including actions and gestures, and the wearing or display or clothing, signs, flags, emblems and insignia, as well as the distribution or dissemination of matter to the public with knowledge the matter promotes or expresses hatred towards, serious contempt for or severe ridicule of persons on the basis of religious belief or affiliation or lack of.
The new law contains three exceptions that prevent conduct that would otherwise amount to religious vilification from being unlawful. The exceptions apply to:
A person will be able to lodge a complaint of religious vilification with the president of the Anti-Discrimination Board, who will encourage mediation if possible, and who can otherwise refer a complaint to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. If the tribunal finds a complaint substantiated, it can order a range of remedies depending on the circumstances, including damages of up to $100,000, or orders requiring an apology, a retraction, or to not engage in further unlawful activity.
The new religious vilification laws in NSW have implications for employers. Employers may need to review their existing discrimination policies and training to ensure that they cover religious vilification as well as other forms of unlawful vilification.
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has dismissed an employee’s application for the Commission to deal with a dispute under s 65B of the Fair Work Act 2009 concerning a request for a flexible work arrangement with his employer in Gregory v Maxxia.
A vehicle is not a motor vehicle unless it was built with the intention of being propelled by a motor which forms part of the vehicle. In assessing whether a vehicle is a motor vehicle the focus is on the intention of the manufacturer, at the time the vehicle was built, and not on subsequent modifications made by somebody other than the manufacturer.