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Racial Vilification Act

Racial vilification is behaviour in a public place that incites hatred, serious contempt or ridicule of a person or group of people, because of their race.

A person's race includes their colour, country of birth, ancestry, ethnic origin or nationality.

It is unlawful under the Racial Vilification Act 1996 (SA) to vilify people because of their race by threatening to harm them or their property, or urging others to do so. Fines apply.

People who believe they have been vilified can report to police or sue for damages under the Civil Liability Act 1936 (SA).

Private remarks, light-hearted jokes, artistic works, or fair reports on racial conduct, are not unlawful racial vilification. For racial vilification to be unlawful, it must occur in public.


An Iranian woman and her child travelling on a bus were told to "go back where they came from" and threatened with violence by youths. The woman and her child were vilified because of their nationality.

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