I do not agree with all of the Senator’s arguments; the Senator seems to oppose the idea that some crimes or assaults are worse than others; however, having distinctions between manslaughter and murder, having defences such as provocation and permitting discretion in sentences, and so on, is premised on the fact that some crimes are more severe than others. I also contest his notion that determining the severity of the crime does not depend on the status of the victim; surely a person beats to death a little child has done something worse than a person who beats to death a person of equal strength in a pub brawl?
However, where I think his argument is poignant is when he notes that the proposed hate crimes amendment will take into account a person’s political and religious beliefs in determining the severity of the crime. In other words, a person can be prosecuted for what they believe, provided they engage in a criminal activity. The Senator rightly highlights the proposed wording that no one shall be prosecuted “solely” on the basis of their religious beliefs; this seems to imply that one might be able to be prosecuted partly on the basis of their religious beliefs. I also agree with his questioning why, if the bill is simply about criminal activity, this amendment even needs to be there especially in light of the First Amendment of the US Constitution?
Anyway watch the video. If nothing else you’ll enjoy the refreshing change of a watching a politician speak in the house, using arguments to support his claims and those in opposition are not screaming abuse and insults in the background or being ejected!