Updates to Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act now in effect

Two important changes to Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act came into effect on 29 April 2024, strengthening vilification laws and closing gaps in protections from discrimination for trans, gender diverse and intersex people.

These updates to the law will help modernise the law to ensure it keeps pace with contemporary community expectations, and work to make Queensland safer and more inclusive.

Stronger vilification law

The new laws strengthen the protections for people who experience vilification. From today:

  • the criminal offence of serious vilification has moved from the Anti-Discrimination Act to the Criminal Code, and will have a higher penalty.
  • when crimes like assault, going armed so as to cause fear, threatening violence, wilful damage, trespass and public nuisance are motivated by hatred or serious contempt because of the victim’s race, religion, sexuality, gender identity or sex characteristics, courts will be able to impose a tougher penalty including longer custodial sentences.
  • the public display, public distribution, or publication of hate symbols will constitute vilification. This could include signs, tshirts, tattoos, and publication of prohibited symbols online.
  • sex characteristics will be protected by vilification law, along with race, religion, sexuality, and gender identity.

These changes have come about in part due to a campaign by the Cohesive Communities Coalition, representing over 20 of Queensland’s diverse ethnic and faith communities.

Protections for trans, gender diverse and intersex people

Protections against gender identity discrimination and vilification have been in place since 2002 but were unclear and inconsistent, leaving non-binary and intersex people out altogether or forcing them to navigate confusing legislative provisions or multiple jurisdictions to advocate for themselves and their communities.

The changes coming into effect today mean that:

  • non-binary or gender diverse people are explicitly protected from discrimination in Queensland, aligning with many laws across Australia
  • the definition of gender identity is broader and more inclusive of trans people’s experiences of gender expression
  • outdated and offensive language has been removed from the law and a new attribute of sex characteristics added to make sure intersex people are protected from discrimination and vilification.

With increasing community understanding and recognition of non-binary and intersex people, these important changes help make sure the law keeps pace with contemporary needs and expectations.

More information is available at the Queensland Human Rights Commission website: