Attended a meeting in this room at the left at which Paul Goggins spoke. He is the MP in charge of shepherding this piece of legislation through the Houses of Parliament and working for it's acceptance. My notes of his talk are as follows :
+ linked to anti-terror legislation proposed in 2001 then withdrawn
+ racial hatred legislation in force for 20 years BUT no protection for "inciting hatred because of belief or lack of belief"
+ Jews, Sikhs etc are protected as a race but Muslims not protected as a faith
+ issues surrounding this bill can be divided into
(i) legal arguments &
(ii) every day concerns
+i)a)bill will affect those who engage in speech and behaviour which "are likely to stir up hatred in 3d parties" & "they intended to do so" [yet proving intentions is difficult almost impossible]
+i)b) what is "hate" ? what is "religion" ? the bill does not define these.
+ii) every day issues : a) a new blasphemy law ? no.
b) religion is different from race yet there are still "issues of identity"
c) "this bill protects the right to say harsh things about BELIEF but not about BELIEVERS"
d) frivolous complaints : this bill has a different and higher threshhold fom the Australian legislation
+ the Attorney General must approve all prosecutions