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(LifeSiteNews) — The Queensland state government is set to make far-reaching changes to its Anti-Discrimination Act, proposing special protections for self-identifying transgender, gender diverse, and intersex people by shielding them from supposed “discrimination” and “vilification.”

The 185-page Anti-Discrimination Bill 2024 amends over 30 pieces of legislation. Only three weeks were given for public consultation and comment.

The draft legislation is being criticized for further eroding religious freedoms, for its overly subjective definition of what constitutes “vilification,” for its questionable definition of when incitement is “reasonably likely” to exist, and for allowing a victimization charge to be applied even if the claim is withdrawn.

READ: ‘Transgender Day of Visibility’ declaration on Easter was a deliberate attack on Christianity

It is a legislative move that highlights a weakness in Australia’s legal structures. Australia is a combination of a representational democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Unlike the United States, which is a constitutional republic, there is no Bill of Rights (at least at the federal level), and few protections for individuals outlined in the Constitution, which is a largely administrative document.

As a result, Australian governments have moved toward legislating protections for what they perceive to be threatened minority groups. In doing so they have run the risk of undermining the integrity of the legal system.

That is what the Queensland government is now doing, as are many other state governments. There are currently six other gender identity laws planned. Singling out particular groups for protection runs counter to the idea that everyone should be equal before the law. Instead of saying “discrimination or vilification against anyone is wrong” they are saying “discrimination against this particular group is wrong.”

That inevitably becomes, in itself, a form of discrimination. Moving against the views of people who do not belong to the allegedly victimized group (especially, it seems, those who hold religious beliefs) is seen as acceptable or, at the very least, less wrong. It also characterizes those views in the most negative terms possible, a position not conducive to either fairness or reasonableness. It is a form of legally expressed prejudice supposedly combating prejudice – reminiscent of George Orwell’s line in Animal Farm: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

According to Alex Deagon, an associate professor in the School of Law at the Queensland University of Technology, the proposed changes are “the most restrictive regime for regulating religious bodies in Australia and will significantly undermine the ability of religious organisations to employ persons in accordance with their faith, contrary to both international law and constitutional law.”

Other details in the proposed law also point towards deep partiality. Legal analysts Patrick J. Byrne and Terri Kelleher, writing in News Weekly, are critical of the anti-vilification clause, which says it would be illegal for a person or group to engage “in a public act that a reasonable person would consider hateful, reviling, seriously contemptuous, or seriously ridiculing of the other person or group.” The public acts are defined as any form of “communication”: speaking, writing, displaying notices, broadcasting, and “gestures and the wearing or displaying of clothing, signs, flags, emblems and insignia, observable by the public.”

Byrne and Kelleher point out that in the proposed law the decision as to whether there is vilification lies with a “reasonable person.” That “reasonable person” is defined as someone with the same protected attributes (that is, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, etc.) as the person or group alleged to be vilified.

In other words, those claiming to have been harmed will get to decide whether they have been harmed or not, which is hardly conducive to unbiased outcomes. Of course the regular ridicule of Christians by LGBT groups, which has long been common at public events, will be conveniently ignored.

READ: JK Rowling dares Scottish police to arrest her over new ‘hate crime’ law threatening free speech

Another problematic clause proscribes actions that are “reasonably likely to incite hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule” of another person or group of persons on the basis of their protected attributes. This is dangerously close to legislating against pre-crime, arresting people because they might do something rather than after they have transgressed.

Byrne and Kelleher point out that the standard is highly subjective. “What does ‘reasonably likely’ mean, and how would it be interpreted? If no one is alleging at least an apprehension of harm, how can conduct be judged to be ‘reasonably likely’ to incite hatred?… what one person regards as ‘reasonably likely’ to incite vilification, another would not regard as ‘reasonably likely.’”

Even more troubling is the way the law banning victimization is drafted. Byrne and Kelleher write: “What is most draconian about a ‘victimisation’ charge is that the ‘offence’ of victimisation continues even if a complaint is not pursued, or is withdrawn or dealt with.” It means that simply being accused of something can become a permanent stain, even when the accusation is no longer being made or has been withdrawn.

Under the guise of protecting a minority group, Australian state governments are undermining the basic principle equality before the law. It may be effective politics, or a way to satisfy intense LGBT lobbying, but it is bad legislation and will lead to yet more damage to Australia’s social institutions.