The Howard administration anti-terror laws were so poorly thought-out and ill-considered, with numerous unintended side-effects that curtailed our civil liberties, that Labor pledged to review them if elected.
Instead restoring our civil liberties, Labor’s Attorney-General McClelland proposes to broaden Government controls by creating a new offence of “inciting violence against an individual on the basis of race, religion or nationality” allowing easier prosecution of “those who attempt to induce others, including vulnerable youths, to commit acts of politically motivated violence.” [20 July]
Why is inducing “vulnerable youths” any worse than inducing “vulnerable adults”? Why is inciting others to “politically motivated violence” any more heinous than inciting others to violent crimes of any type?
What constitutes “inciting” and “inducing”? A spirited classroom debate about jihad, students advocating each side? Who would be prosecuted for “incitement” – the students? The teacher? Would a Rabbi’s sermon glorifying radical Israeli settlers and offering to pay volunteers to join them be “inducement”?
What about the Serbs and Croats rioting at The Australian Open – will we indict them for carefully teaching their children “to hate all the people [their] relatives hate … before [they] are six or seven or eight”? [apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein]
The Government is yet again reaching into our minds, attempting to control what we might say or possibly do. The side-effects are so far-reaching as to be incomprehensible.
As a member of a group too-often targeted by “politically motivated violence,” I fear the damage such a law would do to everything I value about being Australian.
Judy Bamberger, CLA member, O’Connor ACT