CLA has today (22 June 2006) called again for the Australian Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into sedition legislation to be extended for six months. “If Attorney-General Ruddock can extend the Cole Oil-for-Food Inquiry for three months, he should extend the sedition inquiry for at least six months,” CLA secretary Bill Rowlings said.

Media release Thursday 22 June 2006


CLA calls on ALRC to request six month extension to sedition inquiry

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) should ask for a six month extension to the sedition legislation inquiry, Civil Liberties Australia said today (22 June).

The CLA call followed today’s (22 June) announcement that the AttorneyGeneral, Mr Ruddock, had agreed to a three month reporting extension for the Cole Oil for Food Commission.

“If the oil for food inquiry can be extended for many months, then the sedition inquiry demands an extension,” CLA secretary Bill Rowlings said.

“The sedition inquiry is being conducted with unseemly haste. The ALRC has admitted in its own background papers that an inquiry like that on sedition should take at least twice as long as has been allowed by the government,” he said.

CLA has written today (22 June 2006) for the second time to the head of the ALRC, Prof David Weisbrot, proposing that he asks Mr Ruddock for an extension of time.

CLA’s original sedition inquiry submission called on the ALRC to ask the Attorney General for an extra six months to allow more time to consider and consult on the sedition legislation.

“If a one off legal inquiry like the Cole Commission requires extra time, how much more important is careful consideration of sedition provisions which may well stay on the statute books, based on the legislation’s history, for 50 or 100 years.

“We cannot understand why the ALRC is allowing its normal carefullyconsidered approach to be truncated.

“Deciding Australia’s laws on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly should not be rushed,” Mr Rowlings said.

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