A lawyer turned filmmaker contacts Crikey on the terror laws:
Arguably Section 30A: ‘seditious intention’ means the death knell to any and all satirical comedy on TV and elsewhere; no CNNNN,
no Roy and HG on the election and no John Safran. What a boring old
world we live in. Can’t help thinking that it is the PM’s ‘cunning
plan’ to bring back Mrs Slocombe and the Are You Being Served team to our screens. Champagne comedy PM style!
avoid the obvious comment about Hyacinth Bucket, but does this mean
publications such as Crikey would be under threat, too? Or will we be
saved by Malcolm Turnbull and George Brandis?
Sam Maiden reports in
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sedition laws are archaic, difficult to understand and based on ‘dead
letters,’ according to two Liberal MPs who welcomed yesterday the
government’s decision to review the legislation.
Turnbull said the sedition laws were so confusing they were
contributing to an unwarranted scare campaign over the Government’s
planned anti-terror laws.
Sedition laws could lead to the
jailing of a person for up to seven years if they are found guilty of
urging another person to overthrow by force or violence the
Constitution, or who threatens the ‘peace, order and good government of
Us? Many years ago we drew attention to
Senator Brandis’s brave claim that he has never knowingly told a lie,
so we’ll happily take his comments in the Oz on trust: “I am inclined to think the whole law of sedition is obsolete.”
sedition measures have caused much concern. Look at what Australian
Screen Directors Association executive director Richard Harris had to
say in his latest bulletin to members:
ASDA is at the forefront of a vigorous campaign lobbying
against the Government’s proposed extension of the sedition laws – part
of its anti-terrorist legislation.
Fortunately, I was able to
have the issue recently raised with the PM, and following this he spoke
about it at an industry dinner for the film industry on Monday night
(31 October). This meeting included reps from ASDA, SPAA, MEAA, AWG as
well as a number of film identities.
The PM’s words were
encouraging, in that he said that it was not the intention of the
Government, through this legislation, to unreasonably restrict the
usual freedoms of expression that Australians have always enjoyed. That
Australians will continue to be free to engage in normal criticism of
politicians, the Government or the State.
He suggested that
these changes were not aimed at fundamentally altering the nature of
sedition laws already in existence, and that once the anti-terrorist
legislation was passed, that filmmakers, artists, journalists and or
any other Australian expressing their ideas would be protected by the
usual good faith defences that had traditionally been used in this area.
ASDA’s continuing concern is that the legal advice that it
has received so far on the sedition aspects of the bill suggest that
this stated intention is currently not reflected in the proposed
legislation. The advice that ASDA has received suggests that the
sedition provisions do in fact seriously and unreasonably threaten the
sorts of freedom of speech that Australians could expect to be allowed,
and that they limit the good faith defences that can be used for
certain kinds of acts that could be considered seditious.