SMSs inciting racial attacks to be offence in Australia

 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s government, alarmed at the damage being done to the country’s reputation, is considering bringing forward aspects of its review of counter-terrorism legislation which included overhauling sedition laws.

It has set up a special task force, headed by the Prime Minister’s National Security Adviser Duncan Lewis, to look into the proposal, according to The Age newspaper.
The Victorian government has moved to make racial hatred or prejudice an aggravating factor when sentencing an attacker.

The proposals being considered by the government will target those who incite violent attacks against overseas students because of their race or nationality, rather than the perpetrators of physical violence.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland told parliament last week that the government was “examining the possibility of amending” an existing federal offence of inciting violence against people for their race, religion or ethnicity to include “inciting violence against an individual on the basis of that individual’s race, religion, ethnicity or nationality”.

The amendment was among a number of changes recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission to the controversial sedition laws.

The proposed amendment to the existing legislation would strengthen the powers of the police to respond to attacks against Indian students.

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