Tuesday, November 29, 2005 

Combined Arts Industries Welcomes Senate Report

The Senate Committee published its report on the Anti-Terror Bill 2005 today, with a unanimous position from all sides of politics seeking the removal of the sedition provisions pending an Australian Law Reform public inquiry. This is an exceptional result, and it is clear from the committee's report that the Arts Submission, and presentation to the Senate Inquiry, has been taken extremely seriously and had a significant impact.

The combined Arts Industries:

* welcomes the Committee's report and findings.

* support the recommendation to remove the sedition sections in their entirety

* support the call for an Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into the need for sedition laws, an important opportunity for these ancient laws to be removed forever.

* do not support the alternative recommendation from the Committee, Recommendation # 29 below, as we feel the sedition provisions must be removes so that all Australians will be protected.

The Senate Report can be downloaded from:


The key recommendations are:

Recommendation 27
5.173 The committee recommends that Schedule 7 be removed from the Bill in its entirety.

Recommendation 28
5.174 The committee recommends that the Australian Law Reform Commission conduct a public inquiry into the appropriate legislative vehicle for addressing the issue of incitement to terrorism. This review should examine, among other matters, the need for sedition provisions such as those contained in Schedule 7, as well as the existing offences against the government and Constitution in Part II and Part IIA of the Crimes Act 1914.

Recommendation 29
5.176 If the above recommendation to remove Schedule 7 from the Bill is not accepted, the committee recommends that:
• proposed subsections 80.2(7) and 80.2(8) in Schedule 7 be amended to
require a link to force or violence and to remove the phrase ’by any means whatever’;
• all offences in proposed section 80.2 in Schedule 7 be amended to expressly require intentional urging; and
• proposed section 80.3 (the defence for acts done ’in good faith’) in Schedule 7 be amended to remove the words ’in good faith’ and extend the defence to include statements for journalistic, educational, artistic, scientific, religious or public interest purposes (along the lines of the defence in section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975).

Recommendation 30
5.233 The committee recommends that the amendments in Schedule 1 of the Bill, relating to advocacy of terrorism, be included in the proposed review by the Australian Law Reform Commission as recommended above in relation to Schedule 7.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 

Art In A Time of Crisis

On Friday, November 11, Eva Sallis gave a lecture at Flinders University, entitled Art In A Time of Crisis. It as it is one of the most insightful and beautifully written essays to come out of this debate, touching on the responsibilities of artists at a time when their voices are being stiffled and has now been published by New Matilda. Issue 66.

Eva Sallis is an author and academic based in South Australia. Her latest book is Marsh Birds.



Forum for Writers, Journalists and Publishers

The NSW Writers' Centre is organising a forum on the evening of Tuesday, 29 November about the impact the new terror laws (in particular the sedition provisions) will have on writers, journalists and publishers.
NSW Writers' Centre is in the Rozelle Hospital Grounds, Balmain Road, Rozelle
(Enter the hospital from Balmain Road and follow the signs to the Centre.
Tuesday 29 November, 6pm ‹- 8pm
The Café Bar will be open for refreshments from 5.30pm.
RSVP essential. Inquiries Irina Dunn.
Call (02) 9555 9757 or email nswwc@nswwriterscentre.org.au.
Free entry
Speakers include

LAWRENCE GIBBONS is the CEO of the Alternative Media Group Editor and
publisher of The Sydney City Hub, an independent progressive news weekly.
He has worked for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and other alternative
publications in New York, Toronto and Honolulu.

SYED ATIQ UL HASSAN is a senior journalist, a media writer and an active
community worker representing the South Asian community in Australia. He
founded and is editor-in-chief of Tribune International, the first
multicultural English (ethnic) newspaper in Australia.

JACK HERMAN is Executive Secretary of the Australian Press Council, the body
that deals with complaints about the Australian print media and acts to
maintain the traditional freedom of the press enjoyed by Australians.

PETER MANNING is adjunct professor of journalism at the University of
Technology, Sydney, and a former head of news and current affairs at both
the ABC and the Seven network.

CHRIS NASH is Director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism,
Associate Professor in the UTS Faculty of Humanities¹ Journalism Program and
a Walkley Award winner.

ROBERT PULLAN is a freelance Sydney writer whose books include Guilty
Secrets (Pascal Press 1994) and Four Corners: 25 Years (ABC Books 1986). He
is writing The Press Gang, a history of the Australian press and is on the
Management Committee of the Australian Society of Authors.

NICK PARSONS is Chairman of Currency Press, the performing-arts publisher,
and a writer and director in film, television and theatre.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 

Filmmaker Robert Connolly told a Senate Committee today that the sedition provisions in the current Anti-Terrorism Bill had the potential to curb freedom of speech and expression in Australia, and should be removed completely until subject to proper scrutiny and consultation.

Speaking at the Senate Inquiry into the new Anti-Terrorism Bill (No 2, 2005) Connolly outlined the key concerns of a broad coalition of Australian filmmakers and artists regarding the sedition provisions in Schedule 7 of the Bill.

Connolly noted that sedition laws were increasingly seen internationally as un-democratic, and had been repealed over the past forty years in countries such as Canada, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya,New Zealand, South Africa,Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the USA.

He further pointed out that the only countries with active sedition laws in the world were China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Cuba, North Korea, Syria and Zimbabwe.

Connolly said “it seems pretty clear to me which list the majority of Australians would want Australia to belong to”.

Please click here to download more details of Robert's presentation to the Committee.

"Sedition law is the sleeping giant of authoritarianism, and it has the potential to inhibit freedom of expression and restrict open democracy.

The proposal has only been defended by the Commonwealth Attorney General, Philip Ruddock. No other senior lawyer or legal academic in Australia has defended the proposal. It has been opposed by more than 30 senior and eminent lawyers, legal academics and retired judges. In addition, the proposal has been opposed by all of the major legal groups, human rights groups, arts groups and media groups in Australia. Additional opposition has come from State Premiers, Territory leaders and Liberal backbenchers"

Chris Connolly has summarised the legal reasons for opposing the sedition provisions. This is the introduction to an elegant and concise five point summary that rebuts the Attorney General's defence of the provisions.


Senate Inquiry

Robert Connolly and Chris Connolly will be appearing before the Senate Inquiry tomorrow morning between 9:00 and 9:45 am in support of their submissions and to answer questions. Details of their presentation will be available on this site after 9:30.

Monday, November 14, 2005 

Senate Submission

Thank you to all who emailed to add your names to the Senate Submission. (And apologies to those we couldn't include after the cut-off time). We've had over a thousand hits on this website over the past week which amounts to an extraordinary amount of interest in this campaign. The final submission is now available on the senate website, (Submission No. 153).

If you're reading this website, you may also be interested in having a look at the New Matilda website as they are drafting a Human Rights Bill. If you follow the links on the left hand side under Policy links they lead to a series of terrific articles about why Australia should be considering a bill of rights, along with an outline of the planned campaign which includes community consultation

Last night's sold out Sedition! concert was a triumph. David Marr from the Sydney Morning Herald has written an article in the Sydney Morning Herald but I can't find it online. Sorry. There is plenty about the sedition provisions in both the Age and the SMH (the only two I've had a chance to check). An Op-Ed piece from Ian Barker which I'm pleased to say is a much more convincing piece of writing than Philip Ruddock's defence of the provisions. The Age has also published Philip Ruddock along with a detailed history of how sedition laws have been used in Australia by Laurence Maher and a piece from Friday's Age by Natasha Cica.

Please do keep checking this site as there will be more to do.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 

Senate Submission

A submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee is being drafted. We hope to have it up on this site by the end of the day (okay - that was a little optimistic, it'll be closer to 9pm EST). As soon as it's up there will be a mechanism in place by which you can add your or your organisation's name. Please stay tuned.

Monday, November 07, 2005 

The Next Step

As you may be aware, the Attorney General Philip Ruddock has announced that there will be a review of Sedition Laws in Australia next year.

While it is good news, and shows that our efforts this week have had an impact, it remains a concern that the Anti Terror Bill including the sedition provisions could be passed on the assumption that a fair and reasonable review of sedition will take place sometime in the future.

It is our feeling that the sedition provisions in the Anti-Terror Bill should be removed in their entirety now, and the whole issue of sedition be considered separately at a later date with proper scrutiny. We have taken legal advice on this now from two different lawyers who both agree that the sedition provisions (Schedule 7 of the Bill), can easily be removed without impacting on the rest of the bill.

This would allow the significant human rights and civil liberties issues in the rest of the Bill to be the subject of much needed scrutiny at the Senate Inquiry in the coming weeks, without being overshadowed by the attention given the sedition provisions.

It would also guarantee that any review of the sedition provisions happened BEFORE they are made law.

A letter went out to Members of Parliament today (click here to see the full text). Please use this letter as a starting point for faxes and emails to your own Member of Parliament as well as to key members of both parties (sympathetic backbenchers, minsters and shadow ministers). A full list of fax numbers and email addresses can be obtained from the House of Representatives link on the right (or click here to download a pdf file). It would be wonderful if faxes and emails could be sent by the close of business on Tuesday.

Those of you who are new to this site may also want to read the first two posts.

Saturday, November 05, 2005 

What To Do Next

Please read the Original Press Release and FAX your local Member to express your views and concerns. It would be wonderful if the faxes could be sent by the end of Monday 7th November. If you don’t have access to a fax, please email and/or snail mail.

To the right are links to the Parliament House website listing all Members of Parliament and Senators along with their contact details.


Live On Stage - Acts of Sedition!

And a good article from the Sydney Morning Herald, November 5, 2005



Chris Connolly has written an excellent and concise summary of the possible impact Schedule Seven may have on freedom of speech and expression and why we are calling for its removal. Click here for the CONNOLLY SEDITION PAPER a Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee by Chris Connolly from the Law Faculty of University of New South Wales.

ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE - This was distributed to all media on 1st November. A slightly amended version was sent to Members of Parliament and Senators on both sides of Federal and State politics.

What to do next:

Please read the Original Press Release and FAX your local Member to express your views and concerns. It would be wonderful if the faxes could be sent by the end of Monday 7th November. If you don’t have access to a fax, please email and/or snail mail.

To the right are links to the Parliament House website listing all Members of Parliament and Senators along with their contact details.

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