Fines of $12K for hate speech in same-sex campaigns

The same-sex marriage survey is underway with 16 million Australians preparing to vote, while Parliament considers hate speech legislation.

The first of the ballot papers were sent to regional and remote areas of Australia this morning.

However, the government is still finalising a deal with Labor to pass laws governing the conduct of campaigns.


The bill is expected to pass through Parliament by the end of this week.

Under the new laws Yes and No campaigners could face fines up to $12,600 if their material includes hate speech.

The bill would make it an offence to vilify, intimidate or threaten to cause harm to a person on the basis of their sexuality, gender identity, intersex status or religious conviction.

The Guardian reports Labor frontbencher Penny Wong told the party room caucus the postal survey is “a difficult time for our community”.

“Already there are hateful … and hurtful things being said. They might be said politely but they are hurtful and inaccurate [statements] about our families and children,” she said.

“This bill won’t protect against all of the hate speech we already see.

“It will provide some limited protection but the real leadership has to come from the parliament and the government. They have to stand up and speak out against those who engage in hate speech.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will stop taking votes at 6pm on November 7 and announce the result at 11.30am on November 15.