[csaa-forum] Sedition Laws: the light and the dark sides:

mayhem at student.usyd.edu.au mayhem at student.usyd.edu.au
Thu Sep 21 14:25:36 CST 2006

the light side:

the dark side:


The visual arts community is aghast at, and mobilising in response to, the
announcement by Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock that he will not make the
changes to sedition laws recommended by the Australian Law Reform
Commission (ALRC), and called for by the Legal and Constitutional
Committee of the Senate and representatives of the legal, arts and media
The ALRC was charged with the task of reviewing what was generally regarded
as ill thought through legislation, which was hastily pushed through
parliament in December last year. Even the Attorney General acknowledged
then that it was ¯a work in progress˜.
In response to this latest announcement, the National Association for the
Visual Arts  (NAVA), the peak body representing the professional interests
of artists and arts organisations, has joined with others in the legal,
and media sectors to demand changes needed to guarantee freedom of
expression especially for artists and other creators. A meeting will be
next week to plan a co-ordinated response.
Tamara Winikoff, Executive Director of NAVA said today, ©¯We have already
seen the affect of these laws in dampening the full expression of
ideas by artists who are fearful that their work could be misinterpreted.
The penalties are too serious for many artists to take the risk.©˜
Winikoff continued, ©¯These laws can be and already have been used to quell
the opinions of independent thinkers. Without robust discussion and debate,
we risk losing our moral compass. A strong democracy can accommodate and
respect the challenges thrown up by its citizens.  This law erodes the
democratic principle that has been a long cherished right in our country,
and one for which we have gone to war.©˜
The ALRC backed by the legal, arts and media sectors, want to see a clear
distinction made between legitimate questioning, dissent and critique by
those who may disagree with the policies or actions of governments, and
expression that constitutes a criminal offence. Representative concerned
groups demand that the law be changed to differentiate between a
satirical or critical challenge to the authority of the state, and the
security risk of the urging of the use of force or violence which is
genuinely intended to take place.
©¯Plans are in progress to approach those parliamentarians who have
concern, to ask that they demonstrate their commitment and demand the
recommended changes to this dangerous legislation. Without any protection
freedom of expression in Australia we could be headed for the same kind of
repressive controls that we have been critical of in other non-democratic
countries©˜ Winikoff said.
For media comment, contact Tamara Winikoff m: 0411 162 156
NAVA Media Desk
http://www.visualarts.net.au/ newsdesk/mediadesk
National Association for the Visual Arts
Ph: (02) 9368 1900
PO Box 60
Potts Point 1335
NAVA advances the professional interests of the Australian visual arts
sector through advocacy, representation and service provision.

This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.

More information about the csaa-forum mailing list