Australia tries to outlaw seditious speech, and a Muslim leader is worried that it will create more “public intolerance.” “Terror laws target web chatter,” from the Courier Mail, with thanks to Daryl:
A THROW-away comment posted on a website praising a terrorist attack anywhere in the world could land a person in jail under tough new laws to be debated by State and Federal leaders today.
Australians could also find themselves in breach of Federal law for distributing books or other literature urging people to travel overseas to kill Coalition soldiers, or for praising a terror attack as a brave act that should be repeated.
New incitement and sedition laws on the table at today’s Council of Australian Governments terror summit could place some Australian groups and businesses in danger of breaching the law.
Likely to come under intense pressure under the laws will be the Australian arm of organisations such as Hizb-Ut-Tahrir, whose website sails close to praising the insurgency in Iraq, as well as Islamic bookshops that knowingly sell literature praising terrorism.
The public utterings of some Muslim clerics could also breach new rules. State premiers, who have been outbidding each other and Federal Labor with tough new counter-terrorism laws, want Prime Minister John Howard to insert a “sunset clause” in the new laws so they do not stay on the books forever.
Mr Howard has been reluctant to agree to the push.
But the new laws, in which suspects could be held in detention for up to two weeks without trial, will be reviewed every three years under a deal to be agreed by state premiers and Mr Howard today….
Mr Howard sought to reassure Australia’s Muslim community, saying any new laws would not be targeted at them.
“Law-abiding Muslims have as much at stake in these laws being passed as law-abiding Christians or law-abiding atheists or law-abiding Jews or law-abiding Hindus. We are all in this together,” he said.
But Australian Islamic Mission president Dr Zachariah Matthews said some of the reforms had the potential to cause more public intolerance.