THE AUSTRALIAN SEPTEMBER 23, 2015
By: Anthony Klan
The NSW government is in advanced stages of implementing new anti-hate laws after authorities were unable to prosecute the local head of Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir over anti-Semitic racial taunts.
The NSW Attorney-General has been in close talks with Jewish umbrella group the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, which lodged a complaint against Hizb ut-Tahrir over the taunts, and is expected to announce changes to section 20D of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act within weeks.
Our clear understanding is that the state government is keen to improve the legislative process in connection with this issue and is working towards reform, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said.
Close consultation and ongoing dialogue with (Attorney-General Gabriel Upton) and her senior staff are continuing, and we look forward to a positive outcome that will benefit not only the Jewish community, but all 200 ethnic communities which comprise the state of NSW.
Ms Upton has been criticised for a perceived failure to act to improve the law, with no action yet taken to implement any of 15 changes recommended by a 2013 parliamentary committee.
Attacks on the government by 2GB’s Alan Jones last week, during an interview with Mr Alhadeff, prompted NSW MP Fred Nile to call on the government for action.
NSW Deputy Premier Duncan Gay on Thursday said he found issues raised by Mr Alhadeff quite concerning and the anti-Semitic taunts ;not acceptable to any member of this house.
In March, the Jewish umbrella group wrote to the NSW anti-discrimination board after a video surfaced of Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia head Ismail al-Wahwah delivering a sermon in Sydney’s west last year calling for Muslims to engage in jihad to rid the world of Jewish hidden evil.
In the speech, Mr Wahwah says: “The ember of jihad against Jews will continue to burn … tomorrow you Jews will see what will become of you an eye for an eye, blood for blood, destruction for destruction.
In its defence, Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia has said the comments had been made in 2014 when the army of Israel was launching a brutal war against the people of Gaza.
The comments in question were made at the time of the most recent offensive against the people of Gaza, an offensive that indiscriminately razed homes, schools, hospitals and mosques, killing thousands of men, women and children in the process, the group said.
Despite the anti-discrimination board determining a serious breach of race-hate laws had occurred, the Director of Public Prosecutions and NSW police decided against prosecuting Mr Wahwah, in part because of the time between the statements and the complaint being lodged.
The Australian understands NSW police are frustrated by the existing laws, which among other things require action to be taken within six months of an alleged hate speech occurring.
A spokesman for Ms Upton said the government was working towards reform in the area, but declined to comment further.