Australian Anti-Terror Laws


Australia's anti-terror laws are magnetising changed controversy, as the Australian legal system struggles with new crimes and the increasing role of intelligence agencies. In only five years, or so, the Australian parliament has created almost forty pieces of legislation dealing directly with terrorism - laws limiting freedom of speech and creating new categories of crime and fresh ways of handling suspects. (Lynch & Williams; 2006) With so much transition in such a short period of time, it is not easy for Australians to judge the effect on their freedom or to fully comprehend how the law functions. Has Australia gone too far in limiting democratic rights in the fight against terrorism? The three planks of Australian anti-terror laws are wide ranging terrorism offences including sedition; banning of 'terrorist' organisations; and unprecedented powers for security organisations.(Farrall & Lee) These include incommunicado detention for up to a week for intelligence gathering and the issuing of control orders with no requirement to notify the recipient of the reasons.Australia's first exposure to terrorism was the bombing of the Sydney Hilton Hotel in March 1978. This incident raised the issue of Australia's unpreparedness for terrorism in terms of implementing laws and legislations. But the introduction of anti-terror laws only actively began in the late 1990s and early 2000s due to concerns for the Sydney Olympics. Australia implemented laws dealing with defence aid, foreign incursions and international law, but did not have specific anti-terror laws. However, following the September 11 incident of 2001, Australia has begun making active attempts at "developing a comprehensive anti - terrorism legislative package". (//Terrorism and the Law in Australia: Legislation, Commentary and Constraints//) As the above paragraph states, there are numerous legislations in Australia regarding anti - terrorism including:- Anti - Terrorism Act (No.2) 2005- The Anti - Terrorism Act 2004- The ASIO Legislation Amendment Act 2003.

Sedition

Until recently, sedition was a very broad term, generally defined as "inciting disaffection against the government; bringing about institutional change unlawfully". Essentially, sedition referred to an unlawful challenging of authority. New reforms to sedition laws in Australia have, however, seen the definition narrowed to one that outlaws terrorist acts against the government in order to protect such aspects of democracy as free and fair elections and civil liberties.

The most commonly cited defense against a sedition allegation is political speech which highlights economic or social problems in order to affect progressive (as opposed to detrimental) change in a lawful manner (see [Lynch and Williams] below).

According to Attorney-General McClelland (Press Freedom Report 2009:9), government has accepted a new federal sedition laws to be amended, dropping the titile of the offence the word "sedition" and instead adopting "urging violence"against a group or individual on the basis of race, religion, nationality, national origin or political opinion. Whilst the proscription of "unlawful associations" will be repealed.

Punishments


The following are possible punishments for finding a person guilty of sedition:
  • Police are able to enter and search premises for any and all materials that may provide intelligence as to the operations of a particular terrorist act
  • If an individual is caught performing a terrorist act, police can - in the most extreme circumstances - shoot to kill
  • A control order can be issued which restricts an individual's actions and speech, controlling their workplace, who they communicate with and even the means of communication they can use. They may also be required to attend regular meetings with a police officer, prevented from carrying specific items and be made to wear a tracking anklet as well
  • Police have the right to exercise preventative detention: if an individual is suspected of having involvement in a particular terrorist act they can be held for up to forty-eight hours without charge. This charge can, however, be reinstated every forty-eight hours, essentially meaning a suspect can be held without charge indefinitely. For preventative detention to be permitted, however, the suspected attack has to be imminent (within fourteen days) or, if the attack has already occurred, it must have occurred recently (within twenty-eight days)
  • Police can also order a 'prohibited contact order' which can prevent a held person contacting any individual named in the order for the period of their detention

These punishments do, in some ways, appear flawed but many of these consequences are under review, including making the preventative detention period forty-eight hours without charge ONLY without the ability to reinstate that detention and control orders will possibly be reduced from ten years to one year in duration. Most importantly, however, the definition of terrorism is being reviewed as both a physical AND psychological act.

Democracy and dissent in Australia


Clive Hamilton in a talk to the Melbourne's Writers Festival “Democracy and Dissent in Australia” argued Australia was increasingly ruled by laws its citizens held no knowledge of understood. Anti-terror laws passed through federal and state parliaments (assisted by the Coalition's majority at the Senate) were left so undefined the limits to power were increasingly left to police and security services to interpret.

The case of Dr Mohammed Haneef Hamilton (2007) argues illustrates the ways in which just knowing or associating with a person of interest can land an individual in hot water. It appears the the old adage if you haven't done anything wrong there is nothing to fear no longer applies. The secrecy and discretion of Government, police and security services to interpret laws mean that day-today activities unbeknown to the Australian public may be in fact illegal and thus subject them to suspicion.

The discretionary powers given to the Government and police from anti-terror laws create a climate of fear; the fear from being caught up with security laws Clive Hamilton (2007) feels overwhelms the direct fear from which these laws seek to protect- terrorists acts. The former Government majority seat at the Senate and practices silencing any potential dissenters the question is what protections remain for Australian's? What is necessary Hamilton (2007) argues is transparency; what is needed is a return to checks and balances the traditional restraint on Government. This means media outlets and journalists should feel safe from the consequences of anti terror laws outlined below.

Consequences for Journalists


In the current political climate it is possible for journalists to be exposed to sedition laws or certain actions by governmental bodies to restrict their actions. Mark Pearson outlines seven specific situations in which journalists may be caught up in a sedition case in his The Journalist's Guide to Media Laws :

  1. exposure to detention and/or questioning: if a journalist is believed to have had contact with a terrorist suspect during the process of writing an article, police can detain and question them on their sources and knowledge of an event or organisation
  2. exposure to surveillance: a journalist suspected of knowledge of a terrorist organisation can be placed under surveillance in a bid to gather intelligence
  3. a journalist's work materials can be seized in order to search their documents for any record of communication or knowledge of the terrorist organisation
  4. a journalist can be subject to suppression orders which restrict their ability to report on certain events or actions
  5. a journalist can have their movements restricted in order to limit the extent of information they can receive
  6. exposure to risk by mere association: via association with their sources journalists are at risk of;
  7. criminal charges if their reports or actions are deemed to incite or encourage terrorism

With these consequences for journalism one question does beg to be asked: how aware are we, as the public, of the on-goings within a government-media relationship context in regards to terrorism? Since the 'hype period' for terrorism began (early twenty-first century) there have been few reported cases in the Australian media although it is generally assumed that there are many more. Two of the more notable cases within the public eye were those of "Jihad Jack" and Doctor Mohammed Haneef.

As is raised in Lynch and Williams' 'Shades of Grey', there is a vital and yet difficult role to be played of the balance between freedom of speech and politics and National Security- that is particularly threatened in times of war and national tragedy (as seen following 9/11). They continue to highlight that restrictions on speech must be proven effective against terrorism or national security in order to be proven justified and rational. In a 2007 article from the Courier Mail entitled 'Media battles government to halt slide into secrecy' it is highlights that Australia is 'over-governed and over-regulated'. However, the important point here is not the increasingly blatant governmental attack on Free speech, but rather the complacency of the Australian population regarding their rapidly diminishing democratic rights to freedom of speech and information, a right (as described by ABC managing director Mark Scott) that was the very cornerstone of the development of Australian democracy.

According to Haslem (2002), ASIO can obtain a warrant from a federal magistrate to hold an individual for 48 hours without access to legal advice. They also have the rights to question the journalist. If the journalist fails to give any information requested then he/she can be jailed for five years. Even the journalist has been treated inhumanely, he/she still cannot speak up and there is no penalty for ASIO. This might increase the chance of causing politcal violence.

Protecting sources


One of the fundamental duties of any journalist is to protect their sources: some of the greatest leads are gained on the understand that the origin of the information will not be revealed. Benjamin Haslem's July 2002 article (p86, course reader) investigates proposed terror laws that would allow police to arrest and interrogate a reporter who may be gathering information on a potential threat to national security and to reveal the source of that material. The onus is on the reporter to prove that they do not possess this information and the right to protect its source is invalidated, while their family and friends have no idea where they are.

Such laws were never passed but their very proposal does give a frightening insight into the post-9/11 climate of fear stirred up by the attacks and the subsequent attempts to roll back press freedoms as a result. While the status quo remained largely unchanged, there is still a lack of clear guidelines for press freedoms at a federal level. Gerber is sighted in the Theory Book identifying the piecemeal ways these are administered:
(a) common law plays a role in restricting or protecting speech;
(b) such restriction and protection can be found in other Australian legislation - in particular anti-discrimination legislation.

The Commonwealth Government in March passed amendments to the Evidence Act (1995) said to be designed to protect journalists who do not wish to reveal confidential sources. But lawyer Justin Quill says these laws do not go far enough and are not clear enough: he represented Herald Sun journalists Michael Harvey and Gerard McManus in 2007 when they were prosecuted by the Federal Government for reporting on a leak about Defence spending and subsequently refusing to reveal their sources:
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/journalists-avoid-jail/story-e6frf7kx-1111113819422
Mr Quill has subsequently written that the new amendments still do not protect journalists or their sources:
http://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/blogs/opinion/archive/2009/03/23/new-journalist-protection-laws-don-t-deliver.aspx

Freedom of Speech in an Anti-Terrorism Context


Lynch & Williams, Shades of Grey



Chapter 4 of Andrew Lynch and George Williams' book "What Price Security?" entitled " Shades of Grey" questions the role of free speech within an anti-terrorism legislation environment. The overriding argument in this chapter is that there are three things which must be taken into consideration about whether or not to restrict free speech within the framework of anti-terrorism:

  1. "Freedom of speech should only be limited where it can be demonstrated that the restriction will actually help to lessen a harm like terrorism" (p.60);
  2. "The restriction on speech should be proportionate to the harm that is to be prevented" (p.60) and;
  3. "The actual limitation on speech should be the lease restrictive means of achieving a goal" (p.60)

Thus, if sedition laws are invoked in order to repress freedom of speech these three criteria need to be taken into consideration. If a journalist publishes an article about a particular terrorist attack, unless it can be shown that the article will cause psychological harm or incite physical harm on a group or individual, it should not be within the legislation's boundaries to restrict the journalist's opinion. If the journalist is found guilty of eliciting harm, the restrictions that are placed on their opinion should only go so far as to restrict the particular components of their article which are deemed harmful, and no more. Finally, if there exists a less intrusive way of limiting the harm caused by knowledge of the event, these measures should certainly be explored first, before restriction of the journalist's freedom of speech is enacted. Lynch and Williams made a strong point that "the object is not national security at any cost, but the security of our democratic system" (p.60). That is, restriction of public opinion rarely affects the state of our national security but rather restricts our capacity for democracy and our right to governmental transparency. Indeed, argue the authors, "bad laws that go too far may even make the problem of terrorism worse by fostering a sense of grievance and alienation among people who already feel excluded or have experienced discrimination" (p.60). In marketing a sweeping new Australian anti-sedition law, the Attorney General appealed to various sentiments (Farrall & Lee): 'It is designed to protect the community from those who would abuse our democratic values and threaten our tolerant and harmonious society...Journalists, commentators, activists, artists, performers and all those who cherish our tradition of freedom of speech and support peaceful lawful change, have nothing to fear from the existing law, not from this legislation. (Ruddock 2005)

On Sedition


Lynch and Williams closely scrutinise the effect that new sedition laws within the Australian legal framework will have on society and freedom of speech within society. "Exactly how the new law will make Australians safer from terrorism has not been made clear" (p.66) and there is certainly a great deal of ambiguity and obscurity to the new laws as well as a frightening amount of breadth to the range of situations in which a person's actions or speech may be considered seditious.
A strong argument that the authors raise is that of rebellion towards the new laws: "there is also potential that the law will push speech that promotes political violence underground ... banning speech can even make the ideas that it embodies more popular to some" (p.66). Just as the banning of certain drugs makes their consumption much more popular to some sects of society, it is highly plausible that the restriction of certain expression of ideas or opinions will lead to a larger scale outbreak of anti-sedition law speech and propaganda within society. If something is made illegal it becomes infinitely more attractive to certain individuals and a commonly held view is that "laws were made to be broken" but if the law was less restrictive then fewer people would be tempted to overstep its boundaries just for the sheer thrill of doing so. In regard to sedition laws, this would make for more widespread public exposure to public opinion, "bringing it out into the open to be contested and exposed in public debate" (p.66) rather than simply letting everyone create their own version of the facts.

In 2006 the Australian Law Commission released - as everyone knew it must - a set of recommended revisions to the new Australian sedition laws including narrower definitions of what constituted a seditious offense as well as ensuring that it could be proved beyond reasonable doubt that the suspect had intended to both incite violence and to see that violence physically enacted. Reforms were also suggested to protect what was currently considered seditious speech within the realms of "legitimate forms of communication - including artistic speech, commentary and academic scholarship" (p.69). This last note is important because it protects the intellectual rights of individuals and societies to formulate their own opinions and to incite public debate to allow for rational critical discourse about the issues being brought to the fore.


Preview of Fool Me Twice movie including press releases and an interview with Malcolm Fraser about the consequences of the new sedition laws

Advocating Terrorism


In Australia, the government does not only call the people or the organization which are actually involved in terrorist acts as “terrorists”, in fact, they also name those who provide information or support terrorist activities "terrorists", too. This behaviour can be known as “advocating terrorism”. In addition, not only is the organization involved in or supportive of terrorist acts considered terrorist, all members affiliated with the organization, no matter if they are against the organization's actions, can be punished up to 25 years of jail time (Lynch, MacDonald & Williams, 2001, p. 62). This is because the Australian government believe that if the people or the organization did not provide information or support to the terrorist, then it may pose difficulties for the actual terrorists to proceed with their unlawful acts. For example, if all citizens follow the doctrine of “if you see something, say something” then, it may contribute in stopping a terrorist act. Hence, the Australian government established the law policy to prevent people or organizations to provide support for terrorist activities.

In the Section 102.1(1A) of the Criminal Code, it is stated that an organization advocates the doing of a terrorist act if
(a) The organization directly or indirectly counsels or urges the doing of a terrorist act. (Lynch, MacDonald & Williams, 2001, p. 62)
(b) The organization directly or indirectly provides instruction on the doing of a terrorist act. (Lynch, MacDonald & Williams, 2001, p. 62)
(c) The organization directly praises the doing of a terrorist act in circumstances where there is a risk that such praise might have the effect of leading a person (regardless of his or her age or any mental impairment…that the person might suffer) to engage in a terrorist act. (Lynch, MacDonald & Williams, 2001, p. 62)

Radical Islam Concerns


The major objections of Australian Muslims to specific provisions in the 2005 Act, or other acts of anti-terror legislation, include association provisions, expanded questioning and preventative detention powers, sedition laws and the authorised use of tracking devices. One major concern surrounds the offenses of financing terrorism. There are two offenses that are relevant here. The first, which predates the 2005 Act, is the crime of financing a terrorist organisation. However, in the federal government's estimation, this left a loophole where terrorist fund raising is achieved by an individual, not an organisation. (Lynch, MacDonald & Williams, 2001) It sought to rectify this deficiency through the 2005 Act, which created the following new offense of 'financing a terrorist' in s 103.2 in the Criminal Code (Cth):
(1). A person commits an offense if: (a) the person intentionally: (i) makes funds available to another person (whether directly or indirectly, or (ii) collects funds for or on behalf of another person (whether directly or indirectly and (b) the first mentioned person is reckless as to whether the other person will use the funds to facilitate or engage in a terrorist act. The penalty would be imprisonment for life. (2). A person commits an offence under subsection (1) even if: (a) a terrorist act does not occur; or (b) the funds will not be used to facilitate or engage in a specific terrorist act; or (c) the funds will be used to facilitate or engage in more than one terrorist act. (Lynch, MacDonald & Williams)

See also:
Australia a home for radical Islam: __http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSSYD24882220070702__
Radical Islam: Terror in Its Own Words __http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXFYH5ckDKQ__


Case Studies




"Jihad Jack" - Extremist, or made extreme?

jihad-jack-joseph-terrence-thomas.jpg"Jihad Jack" or Joseph Terrence Thomas was an Australian citizen accused of receiving funds from Al-Qaeda and also for being contracted to work for Al'Qaeda's leaders in Afghanistan. He converted to Islam at the age of 23 and was made a 'radical' Islam after a visit t o Afghanistan in early 2001 - "There, he enrolled at al Farouq, an Al'Qaeda training camp, where he said he thrived" ( CNN, March 3/2006). This information is based on a Four Corners segment with Mr Thomas and highlights some interesting ideas to do with sensationalism and 'making-an-example-of for other 'terrorists'. In his stay at Afghanistan, Mr Thomas allegedly trained with fundamentalist Al'Qaeda soldiers and even met Osama bin Laden, one of its main leaders. While Mr Thomas did not approve of the September 11 attack on New York City and Washington DC, he viciously opposed the US invasion' in Iraq. In other words, Mr Thomas was defending his religion and its followers, not supporting attacks such as the WTC bombings.
Mr Thomas' case, and his identity as Jihad ('Struggle') Jack, is not a simple 'terrorist' or sedition case. His right to choose his own faith and then defend it should not necessarily make him seditious, not should it however excuse or justify harming others while maintaining an Australian identity. What is important in his case is the grey distinction between whether Mr Thomas was advocating terrorism, or defending his faith.
It is arguable at once that he is exercising his right to defend his faith. But is that enough to justify doing so at the risk of harming others while acting as an Australian citizen?

Doctor Mohamed Haneef


Doctor Mohammed Haneef was a doctor implicated in one of the London bombings of 2005. He is the second cousin once-removed of two of the suspects of the London bombings. His particular art in the terrorist action was deemed to be the provision of a SIM card and the two years of telephone credit to one of the extremist operatives on London. During court proceedings it was stated that Haneef's SIM card was found in the incinerated skeleton of a car but it was later uncovered, however, that it was in fact in his cousin's apartment, not in the car at all. Due to a lack of evidence Haneef was released without charge but had his Australia work visa revoked under s501 of the Migration Act 1958, stating that Dr Haneef had failed the 'character test' referred to under the section. It states that a person does not pass the character test if a person has had an association with somebody who has been involved in criminal conduct. The Minister stated that there was an 'association' between Dr Haneef and his cousins (one of which was Sabeel Ahmed). Dr Haneef appealed the decision to the Federal Court, which was overturned in his favor on 21 August 2007.

On appeal, Justice Spender held that the Minister had misconstrued the provisions of the character test and therefore failed to apply it correctly. Relying on precedent, Spender J concluded that an association by way of family ties is insufficient to constitute an 'association' within the meaning of the Act. Such an interpretation would permit a cancellation of any visa regardless of how innocent the association happened to be. Spender J stated that an 'association' must adversely reflect on the character of a visa holder. In other words, the association must go beyond a familial relationship. In Dr Haneef's case, it was not established that the association was anything more than familial. Although his visa has since been reinstated, Haneef has not returned to practice in Australia.

This case highlights the importance of a balance between national security on one hand and the preservation of human rights on the other. In Spender J's judgment, he noted that governmental organisations, such as the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), should not be exempt from judicial scrutiny under any circumstances, simply because they deal in matters of national security.

Faheem Khalid Lodhi

Faheem Khalid Lodhi was the first person to be convicted of preparing for a terrorist act under new legislation. He is a Pakistani Australian architect who immigrated to Australia in 1996. On the 26th of October, 2003 police found evidence of his terrorist plan of bombing the national electricity grid at his NSW home and workplace. During Lodhi's trial, it was revealed that he was trained in Pakistan with Lashkar-e-Toiba, which is one of the most active and largest military groups in Asia. By a NSW Supreme Court jury in June, 2006, Lodhi was found guilty on 2 other charges as well. Overall, he was convicted of; preparing for an act of terror, seeking and collecting chemicals and recipes to manufacture explosives and possessing a "terrorism manual". On the 23rd of August 2006, he was sentenced to 20 years jail.
" __Lodhi guilty of terror plot__ "

Bikie-Gang Legislation: is sedition welcoming a slippery slope?


Bikie-Gang debates, since the March Sydney airport deathof biker Mr Zervas, have highlighted the extent to which free association of individuals can be made illegal for the reason that it harms the community, or infringes on the public's well-being.
While sedition against terrorists has been outlined in the 2005 Sedition Legislation (ref needed) it is the offences that they commit against the Australian nation that are focused on, not just the specific nature of the association. Therefore the new laws are open to the inclusion of other forms of harmful behaviours: such as Bikie-gang killings and drug dealings.
This case highlights how 'undermining the state' is not necessarily labelled as terrorism in the post-September 11 form we are accustomed to. It may extend to more local examples. Treason is defined partly as the 'urging of others to overthrow the Commonwealth or Government or urging others to assist the enemy or those engaged in armed hostilities' (Bronitt,p3).
Sedition is also defined as 'protecting political freedoms ... as well as upholding public order by proscribing acts of urging violence between defined groups' (Ibid, 3).
It is clear that Bikie-Gang issues could be interpreted as both acts of treason and sedition, according to the Criminal Code amendments in 2005 and Simon Bronitt's article.
What other associations, other than Bikie-Gangs and 'Jihad terrorists, will fall under seditious and treacherous labels under this code? Are we entering into slippery legal ground?

Are we also entering a dangerous ramifications for the arts? Sedition Law in Australia.

Sedition and the Banning of Islamic Books


In 2006, an Islamic book shop in Australia was found to be selling two books which were thought to contain material which incited hate towards the West and incited Jihad. The books were viewed as security risks to Australia as one of them mentions committing Jihad on western parts of the world such as the United States, United Kingdom and Australia (Oflc, 2006) At the request of the then Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock, the books named "Defence of Islamic Lands" Oflc report and "Join the Caravans" Oflc reportwere banned by the Office of Film, Literature and Classification (OFLC) Classification Board. Both books were found to be in breach of the Code under paragraph 1 (c) publications should not "promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence" . OflcThe author was the late Sheikh Abdullah Azzam was known as the one of the founding Fathers of Jihad. He was assassinated in Pakistan in 1989 APO . Originally it was written in 1984 then it was re-published in English in 1996 and 2002. The preface was written by Osama Bin Laden. However, the books did not fall under the newly established sedition laws brought in by the Howard government in 2005.

The Classification Review Board on the 'Defence of the Muslim Lands' and 'Join the Caravans' :

The book 'Defence of the Muslim Lands' is 114-pages and aims to clarify through the use of classical sources of Islam, the concept and manner in which 'Jihad' should be prosecuted. This book reflected the idea of Azzam that only by means of an organized force would the Ummah (Muslim believers) ever be able to gain victory, and that Jihad and the gun became his pre-occupation and recreation. From this idea, the Classification Review Board claimed, 'The publication promotes and incites in matters of crime or violence, specifically terrorist acts and martyrdom operations' (Classification Review Board, 2006, 'Decision and reason for decision', p.4). To processing the ban of this book in Australia, the Board rules that book in the following statements (Classification Review Board, 2006, 'Decision and reason for decision, p.6):
  • was specific and explicit in its support for and encouragement of suicide bombing;
  • contained details about how to undertake suicide bombing, explained techniques for undertaking such crimes and outlined the political and psychological benefits and distress caused to the enemy by such attacks;
  • was written in an emotively and passionate manner with the purpose of being a real and genuine call to specific action by Muslims. The book was written as an impassionated plea to Muslims to fight for Allah and engage in acts of violence;
  • was republished in 2002 to specifically refer to 'all situations confronting Muslims around the world' which gave the book a contemporary relevance and context;
  • was written by a well-known Jihadi who had engaged in acts of terrorism and who ties to the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden and associates; and
  • had the objective purpose of promoting and inciting acts of terrorism against disbelivers and suicide bombings, either in non-Muslim lands or in occupied Muslim lands.
In a similar way, the 65-page of 'Join the Caravan' has been examined by the Board and revealed its intention to promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence in that it was 'specific and explicit in its support for and encouragement of fighting against non-believers, specifically in Afghanistan', and that it had the 'objective purpose of promoting acts of terrorism against 'disbelievers', and in particular in Afghanistan (Classification Review Board, 2006, 'Decision and resaon for decision: Join the Caravan ', pp.5-6.).

Too much of censorship? Eroding democracy in Australia?

Since Australian Government, the only western nation to take the unusual step of banning two radical Islamic books on security grounds, there is a concern of eroding democracy-a bedrock culture which made up Australia as a free country. The Attorney-General of Australia has claimed in the Daily Telegraph (Sydney) under the headline 'Secret Books Of Hate' on July 18 2005 that 'but it (freedom) should not protect circulation of material that urges or advocates acts of terrorism against that society...community concerns about the dissemination of material which promotes or advocates terrorism' (Phillip Ruddock, 2006, 'Attorney Welcomes "Books of Hate" Decision'). Furthermore, the Attorney General also in favour to re-amend and strengthen the censorship law in Australia for the purpose to ban any materials which urges or advocates terrorist acts. The media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, which represents journalists, has written to Commonwealth, State and Territory attorneys-general to express its concerns over plans to introduce additional censorship laws, believing that there ‘are already too many harsh laws that curb freedom of expression in Australia’ (MEAA, 2006, ‘More Censorship Laws Not Needed’, Alliance Online). However, those repressions on freedom from the unnecessary censorship believe to be politicallly driven and it may further marginalize the Islamic community in Australia. Hence, a panel is needed to regulate the Board to avoid censoring material which related to international political themes, where that material had not been censored in other democratic countries. According to NSW Council for Civil Liberties, ‘It is not obvious that the material pose any significantly greater threat in Australia compared to any of the other countries in the world where it is freely available. To do so would have the tendency to undermine Australia’s international reputation’ (NSW Council for Civil Liberties, 2006, Submission to Classification Review Board). Moreover, to ban the books may not result in a way to ease terrorism, but to greatly over-state their importance and exaggerate their potential influence, oppositely it will strengthen the influence of those books to the public. Australia as a democratic country, free from religious and political oppression is experiencing changes where the environment favours a system of political censorship in a name of anti-terrorism to repress freedom.


Works cited:

Abjorensen, N (2006) 'Strike up the ban: Censorship joins the war on terrorism', Australian Policy Online , http://apo.org.au/research/strike-ban-censorship-joins-war-terrorism.
Anderson J.W. (2006),Cartoons of Prophet Met With Outrage, Washington Post , January 31, internet, last accessed on 03 Oct 2009,
[ __http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/30/AR2006013001316.html__ ]
Bronitt, S, 'New Sedition Laws: Defending or Subverting Freedom?' ANU College of Law, 24th September 2006.
'Defence of Muslim Lands' (2006) Australian Government- Classification Review Board , __http://www.oflc.gov.au/www/cob/rwpattach.nsf/VAP/(084A3429FD57AC0744737F8EA134BACB)~877.pdf/$file/877.pdf__ .
Farrall & Lee(2008). "Preventing Indeterminate Threats: Fear, Terror and the Politics of Preemption" in Fear of Crime: Critical Voices in an Age of Anxiety. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, New York, Ch. 5.
Hamilton, C. (2007) “Democracy and Dissent in Australia”, A talk to the Melbourne's Writers Festival, 31 August.
'Join the Caravan' (2006) Australian Government- Classification Review Board, __http://www.nswccl.org.au/docs/pdf/CRB%20decision%20Join%20the%20Caravan%20060710.pdf__
Lynch, A. & Williams, G., "Shades of Grey: freedom of speech" in What Price Security? Taking stock of Australia's anti-terror laws (UNSW Press, 2006)
Lynch, MacDonald & Williams. (2001) Law and Liberty in the War on Terror. Federation Press, Sydney, Australia.
Mills J. (2009), US storm as Mohammed cartoons edited out of book, Sydney Morning Herald , August 31, Accessed 03 Oct 2009,
[ __http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/us-storm-as-mohammed-cartoons-edited-out-of-book-20090831-f52k.html__ ]
Pearson, M., The Journalist's Guide to Media Laws: dealing with legal and ethical issues (Allen & Unwin, 2004)
'Radical Islam: Terror in Its Own Words - Part 1' (2007) Fox News Channel. Retrieved at: __http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=watchfXFYH5ckDKQ__
Stewart. C, 'All We Want is Truth', The Australian 6 Nov 2007. Newsbank Database
Taylor, Robert (July 2, 2007) Report on 'Australia a Home for Radical Islam'. Retrieved at: __http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSSYD24882220070702__
Haslem, B, 2002, “Journos may disappear under new terror laws”, The Australian 11 Jul, 2002, Newsbank Database.