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Ruddock attacks his own party over terrorist material.

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Media Release


Ruddock Attacks his own Party over Terrorist Material

Labor fully supports a ban on any materials that advocate terrorism - and we have been calling on the government to act in this area for over two years.

Mr Ruddock fools no one with his attack on Labor over a minor proposed amendment to the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Terrorist Material) Bill 2007.

After sitting on his hands for over two years on this issue, and having failed to deal adequately with the need to ban material that advocates terrorism, Mr Ruddock now chooses to attack Labor for supporting a proposed amendment that was even approved by members of his own party.

Labor first called for reform in this area in 2005 and Ruddock failed to act for two years.

The amendment foreshadowed in the Parliament simply reflects findings of a Liberal-dominated Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which identified that the Bill as proposed by the Government was unworkable and recommend an amendment on the basis of advice from the Classification Review Board itself.

Liberal members of that committee, which supported this amendment, include: Senator Guy Barnett, LP, TAS; Senator Marise Payne, LP, NSW; Senator Stephen Parry, LP, TAS; and Senator Russell Trood, LP, QLD

At least they don't expect the Classification Board to do the impossible.

As the Classification Review Board said in its own submission to the Committee:

"It is difficult to envisage circumstances where the review board might objectively assess how a teenager, for example, or a person with some mental impairment might react to praise of a terrorist act."

Rather the Board retains an overarching obligation to ban any material which advocates terrorist acts - which Labor fully endorses.

This is a reform that is long overdue and Mr Ruddock should have acted over two years ago, instead of engaging in desperate attacks to hide his failure..

The Coalition has the numbers in the Senate, so nothing can be "watered down". Either Mr Ruddock respects the members of his own party who supported the amendment in the Committee or he doesn't.

This is another example of a Government that, in the shadow of an election, will say anything and do anything to get elected.

August 15 Media Contact: Anthony Nagy 0417-807-930