Racial vilification and acts of racial hatred

Racial discrimination is when a person is treated less kindly than another person because of their nationality, belief system, sexual orientation, colour or immigrant status.

For example, it would be ‘direct discrimination’ if a real estate agent refuses to rent a house to a person because they are of a particular racial background or skin colour.

It is also racial discrimination when there is a rule or policy that is the same for everyone but has an unfair effect on people of a particular race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status.

What is racial hatred or racial vilification?

Is doing something publicly based on someone’s colour, nationality, race or sexual orientation, which is likely to cause offence, humiliate, insult or intimidate.

Examples of racial hatred may include:

  • offensive material that is racist in nature on the internet, including online forums, blogs, social networking sites and video sharing platforms
  • racially offensive speeches at a public rally
  • racially abusive comments in a public space
  • racially abusive comments at sporting events spectators, players, coaches or officials

Racial abuse is prohibited in Australia under Victorian and Federal law.

The Victorian law is explained here: 

Racial and Religious Vilification | Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights

The Federal law is explained here:

Know your rights: Racial discrimination and vilification | Australian Human Rights

If you need more information about racial discrimination, please contact VALS on 1800 064 865.