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Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Page: 2262

Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (10:01): What I may do is simply read to you the notes prepared by those specialists in my department who are very familiar with this particular area. The classification act provides that a publication, film or computer game that advocates the doing of a terrorist act must be classified as refused classification, or RC. When this provision was inserted into the classification act the definition of 'advocates' in paragraph 102.1(1A)(a) of the Criminal Code was adopted. However, when the definition of 'advocates' was amended by the foreign fighters act in 2014 the definition in the classification act was not updated. Accordingly, it is still limited to directly or indirectly counselling or urging the doing of a terrorist act.

This amendment brings the meaning of 'advocates' in the classification act into line with the definition in the Criminal Code by also including directly or indirectly promoting or encouraging the doing of a terrorist act. The EM explains that while the terms 'promotes' and 'encourages' are not defined, their ordinary meaning should be used. While there may be some overlap with the terms 'counsels or urges' the doing of a terrorist act, the inclusion of additional terms is designed to ensure coverage of a broader range of conduct that may be considered as advocating the doing of a terrorist act.

That is a genesis, or rationale, of the amendment. The point I would make to you, Senator, is 'advocacy' can take many forms, just as online recruitment and radicalisation can take many forms. There are instances of which I am aware—not directly aware, of course, but about which I have read—of computer games being a device or a medium used by inciters or even recruiters to try and engage and then cultivate people for the purposes of radicalising them.