Difficult to decide if Australia’s proposed anti-terrorism laws—including new sedition components—are too tough or too weak. I mean, who to trust? Sensible Age commentator Tony Parkinson, for example, is in the “too tough” camp:
To prosecute and jail Pilger for sedition, whatever his opinions, would be a travesty: a cruel and unwarranted punishment. If nothing else, spare a thought for the other inmates.
But sensible Andrew Bolt isn’t too fussed:
It is true the new laws may make sedition easier to prove. A prosecutor doesn’t have to link the sedition to a specific terrorist attack or even group, for example.
But let’s be clear what all this is for. It’s to save lives, not to jail journalists.
ALP leader Kim Beazley believes the proposed laws aren’t tough enough:
“The sedition provisions in Mr Howard’s Bill leave the door wide open for those who promote hate and incite violence in our community,” Mr Beazley said.
“Mr Howard is rushing his anti-terrorism Bill into Parliament, but has botched this key measure for tackling the breeding ground for terrorist and extremist recruitment.”
Too tough, just right, not tough enough … maybe Peter Garrett can help us decide:
Opposition spokesman for the arts and former Midnight Oil star Peter Garrett says the proposed sedition law could catch writers and performers.
He said last night that he had obtained an opinion from a senior counsel, Peter Gray, which stated that people involved in the creative and artistic fields would be “particularly vulnerable to the risk of prosecution”.
Now you’re talking! Count me in as a provisional supporter of the proposed legislation.
UPDATE. This seals the deal:
Dozens of prominent lawyers and doctors today turned out at Prime Minister John Howard’s Sydney residence to protest against the proposed laws, which they say are draconian and anti-democratic.