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Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Page: 2261

Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (09:56): Senator Leyonhjelm, I do not want to be flippant about such a grave topic, but I think under the genocide convention that lawyers would not be regarded as a population!

Might I take the opportunity to address the rationale for this crime. The existing law, as amended a year or so ago, introduced a new offence of advocacy of terrorism. My advice, by the way, from the Australian Federal Police is that that has been very effective in discouraging that kind of behaviour in certain communities. Terrorism, as you know, Senator, because you are very well schooled in this area of the Criminal Code, has a certain definition, and it is conceivable that certain conduct which could constitute genocide may not be caught within the definition of the advocacy of terrorism.

You referred to remarks that I made a couple of years ago. Where I draw the line, and I think—I hope—where you draw the line, Senator Leyonhjelm, is between the expression of an opinion, however unattractive, and the advocacy of harmful conduct. I think once we get into the territory of the advocacy of harmful conduct that is no longer merely the expression of an opinion. It is an encouragement or an incitement to do harm to a specified or unspecified person or group of persons. I think that should always be against the law.