Private litigation to address a public wrong: a study of Australia's regulatory response to 'hate speech'

Gelber, Katharine and McNamara, Luke (2014). Private litigation to address a public wrong: a study of Australia's regulatory response to 'hate speech'. In: Public and/or private lives. Conference programme. 2014 Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, Public and/or Private Lives, St. Lucia, QLD, Australia, (29-29). 3-5 December, 2014.

Author Gelber, Katharine
McNamara, Luke
Title of paper Private litigation to address a public wrong: a study of Australia's regulatory response to 'hate speech'
Conference name 2014 Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, Public and/or Private Lives
Conference location St. Lucia, QLD, Australia
Conference dates 3-5 December, 2014
Convener The TC Beirne School of Law. The University of Queensland
Proceedings title Public and/or private lives. Conference programme
Place of Publication St Lucia, QLD, Australia
Publisher The University of Queensland
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Published abstract
Open Access Status
Start page 29
End page 29
Total pages 1
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Australia has had a long experience - nearly 25 years - with an unusual version of hate speech laws in which hate speech is primarily defined and regulated as a civil wrong rather than a crime. The consequence of this is that the responsibility to enforce the standards contained in hate speech legislation rests not with any state agency, but with the individuals from the group maligned by the hate speech. In this paper we argue that hate speech is best conceptualised as a public wrong, and that this phenomenology ought to have empirical consequences, namely that the civil regulatory scheme ought to recognise and attempt to redress the public nature of the wrong incurred. We draw from data from a large study into the impact of hate speech laws in Australia since their introduction to show that, although some elements of the regulatory scheme acknowledge the public nature of the wrong incurred by hate speech, in others there is a dissonance between the public wrong that hate speech embodies and the nature of the regulatory scheme designed to address it. We substantiate these claims with qualitative data obtained from interviews with three key litigants in hate speech tribunal/court cases. The paper concludes with recommendations for amendment of the civil laws to address better the public nature of the harms of hate speech.
Keyword Racial vilification
Australia
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 11 Dec 2014, 13:16:29 EST by Dr Katharine Gelber on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies