Last Updated 14 June 2017

Under s 124A of the Anti-discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) (Anti-discrimination Act), vilification is unlawful. Vilification is, by a public act, the incitement of hatred towards, serious contempt for or severe ridicule of a person or group of persons on the ground of race, religion, sexuality (defined as heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality (s 4 Anti-discrimination Act) or gender identity (defined as a person who identifies or has identified as a member of the opposite sex by living or seeking to live as a member of that sex, or is of indeterminate sex and seeks to live as a member of a particular sex)) of a person or members of a group. A public act is broadly defined and includes communications to the public by (s 4A Anti-discrimination Act):

  • speaking
  • writing
  • printing
  • displaying notices
  • broadcasting
  • telecasting
  • screening or playing of tapes or other recorded material
  • electronic means.

A public act also includes any conduct that is observable by the public, including:

  • actions
  • gestures
  • the wearing or displaying of clothing, signs, flags, emblems or insignia.

There are three exceptions (s 124A(2) Anti-discrimination Act) to the vilification provision:

  • the publication of a fair report of a public act
  • the publication of material in circumstances in which the publication would be subject to a defence of absolute privilege in proceedings for defamation
  • a public act, done reasonably and in good faith, for academic, artistic, scientific or research purposes or for other purposes in the public interest, including public discussion or debate about and expositions of any act or matter.

Discriminatory advertising

The Anti-discrimination Act makes it unlawful to publish or display an advertisement that indicates that a person intends to contravene the Act (s 127 Anti-discrimination Act). Exemptions from this provision are heard by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and have included cases of recruitment for gender-based services (see YFS Ltd [2015] QCAT 295; Pink Army Handywomen [2011] QCAT 395; Women’s Legal Service Inc. [2014] QCAT 315).