New Rudd Thoughtcrimes Proposal

Santa RuddNo Right Turn looks at Rudd’s plans to replace the existing Australian sedition laws with new laws with worrisome wording:

There’s this bit:

“The new counter-terrorism laws – to be drafted in the first half of next year – will cover attacks that cause psychological as well as physical harm…”

This current internationally accepted definition of terrorism (as seen in e.g. New Zealand’s Terrorism Suppression Act) includes acts which are carried out for the purpose of “induc[ing] terror in a civilian population” – but it still requires that they cause death, injury, or serious destruction. So, in order to be “terrorism”, it has to involve killing people or blowing stuff up. Allowing psychological as well as physical harm runs the risk of substantially lowering that threshold, allowing the misclassification of other offences as “terrorism”, with all that that entails. Given that anti-terror laws are already overused, that would be a Very Bad Thing.

In view of the sinister scope creep which is becoming characteristic of the Rudd government, let’s consider what might fall under the new Act’s ambit – like the incessant terrifying media reports of recession / depression we’ve come to know and loathe and which proved a self-fulfilling prophecy over the past year or so. What about religious preaching that induces psychological terror in congregations through threats of eternal fire and brimstone for transgressions? then there’s Santa Claus – he knows when you’ve been good or bad, so be good for goodness sake!

More pertinently, what about when government attempts to manipulate its electors into accepting a nanny state by implying that those who don’t back net censorship are pedophiles?

3 comments to New Rudd Thoughtcrimes Proposal

  • I am more and more convinced we need a Bill of Rights to protect us from government and judicial excesses – unfortunately, Australians tend to be politically apathetic, so any forthcoming Bill of Rights forthcoming from the Brennan consultations may be one which is developed at a distance, without heartfelt commitment and understanding.

  • Very glad you picked up on this, Fringe. Good article.

    ‘Scope creep’ is a great term, amusing but sinister. It’s at the heart of the concern.

    We have the experience of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Act, which I naively imagined at the time of its enactment would help strengthen free speech in this country, but has been employed to the opposite end.

  • Regardless of the good intentions that Mr Rudd may have.

    Regardless of his government’s good behaviour.

    Regardless of whether they use it or not.

    The Rudd Government is creating an infrastructure of oppression.