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Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Page: 2276

Senator LEYONHJELM (New South Wales) (11:09): I still have substantial concerns about this advocating genocide offence. I take the point that there would probably be situations where it ought to be criminalised, but the example given by the Attorney is unconvincing on two grounds. First of all, advocating driving all the Jews into the sea to exterminate them would be seemingly distasteful. The question, of course, is whether criminalising such speech is the right response to it.

But on the assumption that lawyers are humans and part of the population, I just repeat my suggestion that Shakespeare's statement, 'First kill all the lawyers,' is not substantively different from the example that the Attorney just gave. We have to be exceedingly careful that we stay on the side of civil liberties in this instance—and in all instances, for that matter—and that we are not encroaching on what is legitimate speech and, indeed, what is speech that can be best countered by more speech, rather than by repressing or suppressing it.