Key Words to Know

Your guide to terms and descriptions

How is hate speech different from discrimination? Is hate speech the same as Cyberbullying?
To address hate speech it is important to understand how it relates to other similar or overlapping concepts, which are described in the table below.


Intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself.


Any electronic communication that is severe, persistent or pervasive and creates an intimidating or threatening environment.


The unjust treatment of different categories of people.

Hate Speech

An expression that promotes violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes, such as race or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, disability, age, veteran status.


A preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Prejudice refers to opinions or thoughts. Actions based on prejudice are considered discrimination.


A belief that some races are inherently superior to others, a belief that some groups of people are different and do not ‘fit’ into the ‘Australian way of life’, aggressive, abusive or offensive behaviour towards members of other races based on those beliefs.

Racial Vilification

According to the Australian government, racial vilification is any public act that encourages or incites others to hate people because of their race, nationality, country of origin, colour or ethnic origin.


An oversimplified idea of what a particular type or person or thing is like. Stereotypes are applied to the entire group of people and can also exist for animals or things, like cities or countries. For example, “cats are moody.”


To make a deliberately offensive or provocative online post with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.

Violent Extremism

Activities (beliefs, attitudes, actions, strategies) that support or use violence for political, religious or other identity-driven beliefs. This includes terrorism and other forms of identity-motivated violence from hate crime to genocide.


An irrational fear of people from other countries.


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