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The long-awaited antiracism bill has been delayed as public interest groups request more time to make submissions on the draft legislation. Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery told Business Day that public comment on the hate crimes bill was meant to close at the end of this month. But due to demands for more time, including a request from the Human Rights Commission, the deadline has been extended to the end of January. On that basis, it is unlikely to be written into law until this time next year, if not later. Once enacted, the bill — the full title of which is Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech — will introduce two new crimes into the statute book, namely hate speech and hate crimes. Between them, they cover a string of offences motivated by race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and nationality, among others.

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