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States should agree to new test for terrorism material.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON PHILIP RUDDOCK MP

NEWS RELEASE

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 • Telephone (02) 6277 7300 • Fax (02) 6273 4102 www.ag.gov.au/ag

15 April 2007 63/2006

 

STATES SHOULD AGREE TO NEW TEST FOR TERRORISM MATERIAL

Attorney General Philip Ruddock will ask the States and Territories to urgently approve changes to censorship laws after revelations that videos praising terrorism had been given a PG rating.

Mr Ruddock said the current test of whether a publication “promotes, incites or instructs” people to do a criminal act was inadequate and that material which “advocates’’ terrorism should be refused classification.

He said he was pleased the States had finally agreed the laws for material that praised terrorism should be toughened, but wanted no further delays.

“I have instructed my officials to see if they can gain the agreement of the States within two weeks with a view to settling this issue. I don’t want to wait until the next scheduled meeting of the Censorship Ministers in July,’’ Mr Ruddock said.

“If the States and Territories continue to resist, as they have done for more than a year, then I may be forced to go it alone and make this change to the Commonwealth’s Classification Act.’’

He said advocacy was the same terminology agreed by all state and territory governments for the 2005 terrorism legislation.

Advocate in the Criminal Code refers to action that directly or indirectly counsels, urges, provides instruction on doing a terrorist act or directly praises the doing of a terrorist act where there is a risk that such praise might lead a person to engage in a terrorist act.

Under Mr Ruddock’s proposal material that contains depictions and/or descriptions that “advocate” terrorist acts would be refused classification and could not be sold or distributed.

The Attorney-General said the “advocacy’’ test was the most appropriate way to deal with material like as the Death Series DVDs made by Sheik Feiz Mohammad of the Global Islamic Youth Centre.

Attorney General News Release 2

“Whether a not a product should be refused classification will still be a matter for the independent Classification Board, or the Review Board, to determine.’’

He added that if the States and Territories quickly agreed to a new test, the process of public consultation could commence.

“The Australian Government considers that direct praise of a terrorist act carries the risk that someone - usually the more impressionable and younger in the community - might be inspired to commit a similar terrorist act,’’ Mr Ruddock said.

 

Media Contact:  Michael Pelly  0419 278 715