Extensive research from the e-Safety commissioner shows that 53% of surveyed 12-17 year olds have witnessed anti-Muslim harmful content online. This has real world consequences, for example vandalism of mosques, and harassment in schools, workplaces, shopping centres and public transport.
Although it has become normalised, it is not normal. We all deserve to be treated with respect and to feel secure in our home, Australia. You can help to de-normalise this behaviour by using every channel to speak up and report.
Speak to police
We ask anyone who witnesses, or is subject to, racism, discrimination or victimisation on the basis of religion, culture or nationality, to inform police.
If it is an emergency dial 000 immediately. If you are a victim please contact your local police station via 131 444. Police have cultural liaison officers in every region.
If you have any information about a crime motivated by prejudice you can call Crime Stoppers confidentially on 1800 333 000.
Report online to the Australian Cyber Security Centre
Report online if someone has bullied, harassed or stalked you online, through the Australian cyber security centre. It channels complaints to the right authorities for action.
Report online to the Australian Federal Police
Report online articles, images, speeches or videos that encourage hate or violence, or statements or posts made on social media, chat rooms or blogs that encourage hate or violence. The ThinkuKnow website is an initiative of the Australian Federal police.
Speak to your anti-discrimination authority
Lodging a complaint is action a victim can take to hold someone to account for vilifying them or the Muslim community as a whole. If a workplace, shopping centre, bus/train or school management refuses to act and provide a safe environment, that can become a matter of discrimination. Lodging a complaint can be a way to bring that party to the table and understand the impact of what they’ve done. You may also be able to negotiate an apology, a change in their practices, and even financial compensation in some states. These processes are free, straightforward and meant to be used by ordinary people.
With any of these services, if a translator is needed, call TIS 131 450 and tell them your language. Tell them who you are calling and they will help you with the call.
See contact details for each authority below.
New South Wales
Vilification of someone based on their religion is not unlawful in NSW, however discrimination is unlawful. Email email@example.com or phone 02 9268 5544.
It is also now a crime to incite violence against someone or a group based on their faith (s93Z of the NSW Crimes Act). If you see any threat to Muslims online or in person, contact the NSW police.
It is unlawful to vilify or discriminate against someone on the basis of their religious belief in Victoria. A complaint can be lodged through the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. See this toolkit on the Islamic Council of Victoria’s website or ring ICV on (03)9328 2067.
It is unlawful to vilify or discriminate against someone on the basis of their religious belief in QLD. A complaint can be lodged through the QLD Human Rights Commission. Contact them on 1300 130 670. If you believe serious racial or religious vilification has occurred, including physical harm or threats of harm to you or your property, go straight to the police.
There is no protection against vilification, but it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of religious appearance or dress. Contact the Equal Opportunity Commission on (08) 8207 1977.
It is unlawful to vilify someone or discriminate on the basis of their religious belief in Tasmania. A complaint can be lodged through the Equal Opportunity Commission on (03) 6165 7515.
There is no protection against vilification, but it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of religious conviction. Contact the Equal Opportunity Commission on (08) 9216 3900.
It is unlawful to harass or discriminate against someone based on their religious belief or activity. Harassment includes verbal attacks, humiliation or intimidation. Contact the Anti-Discrimination Office on 1800 813 846.
Australian Capital Territory
It is unlawful to vilify or discriminate against someone on the basis of their religion in the ACT. Contact the ACT Human Rights Commission on 6205 2222.
At the federal level
Vilification of someone based on their religion is not unlawful at the national level. A new religious discrimination bill is being discussed in parliament, but it currently does not provide protection against vilification, harassment, incitement of hatred or violence for religious people. A Joint Submission by Australian Muslims to the Australian Government proposes a new civil remedy. For more information, contact the Australian Muslim Advocacy Network.