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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 7107

Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (11:46): It's not going to be my judgement. What I would say is that we should err on the side of freedom of speech, and that is certainly the intention, but this provision will help to ensure that extreme behaviour on both sides of the argument can be properly addressed.

There is a safeguard here, of course, because the Attorney-General has to make the judgement as to whether he will consent to prosecution. That is a deliberate safeguard. Anti-vilification and similar sorts of provisions that seek to provide safeguards against intimidation and threats to cause harm have been in place at a state level for some time. There are established processes and understandings on how these things are pursued. We believe that, in the context of an eight- to nine-week period, hopefully we will not need to pursue any actions under this particular provision.