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Monday, March 20, 2006 

ALRC Inquiry

The ALRC has released its Issues Paper and has asked for submissions by April 10. The ALRC has cast its net wide and is looking for submissions from "community groups; prosecution and law enforcement agencies; criminal defence lawyers; judges; government officials; media organisations and peak associations; legal professional associations; human rights and civil liberties groups; academics; and others." They have provided a handy guide to making a submission which must be written, preferably electronic, and they will "accept gratefully anything from handwritten notes or a few emailed dot-points, to detailed and comprehensive scholarly analyses".

Despite the warm and welcome invitation, if you still don't feel qualified to make a submission, please contact your union, guild or any other organisation you feel can represent your interests to the ALRC and urge them to make one on your behalf.

The Issues Paper is comprehensive (ie VAST). The questions which directly address freedom of expression and the sections which cover it are as follows:

Question 16.
Are the 'good faith' defences provided by 80.3 of the Criminal Code defined with sufficient clarity and are they adquate to protect freedom of expression and other interests? If not, how should they be framed?

Question 17.
Are jounalists and media organisations adquately protected by the defences in 80.3 of the Criminal Code?

See Sections 3.65 to 3.67 and 3.75 to 3.79

Question 22.
Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognises
the right to freedom of expression and the right to hold opinions without
interference, subject to certain restrictions. Are ss 80.2 and 80.3 of the Criminal
Code necessary for the protection of national security or public order within the
meaning of art 19(3)?

See sections 5.17 and 5.28 to 5.33 and 5.34 to 5.39

Over the next week this website will be publishing ideas and links to articles which may help in drafting a submission. If anyone would like to submit any suggestions, particularly if they closely read and are able to clarify sections of the Paper which deal with freedom of expression, please email.

In the meantime, you may find it helpful to re-read the original Senate Submission (scroll down to No. 153), Chris Connolly's Five Key Facts on Sedition, Robert Connolly's presentation to the Senate Committee and the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee Report.

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