Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Book burning comes next

Don't trust books either, according to Mark Vaile.

Australia’s Deputy Prime, Minister Mark Vaile, is seeking a review of sedition laws that have been unable to outlaw books glorifying suicide bombings and espousing hatred of the West.

Vaile said that federal law agencies would be asked for advice on how to change sedition laws after an investigation spearheaded by the Australian Federal Police failed to lead to prosecution against inflammatory literature on sale in Sydney's west.

The Australian Federal Police and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions ruled that the books under question did not contravene sedition laws.

"Nothing in the books fell under anything in those laws," said a federal police spokeswoman, who added that the potential dangers in the books' violent messages were negated in terms of the context and the time in which they were written.

Vaile says, “We’re seeking further advice from our agencies as to whether there is any appropriate additional safeguards which are needed to protect the community from material which incites violence”.

He said that if further changes were recommended, the Prime Minister would broach the issue at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting, seeking a joint response to changing Commonwealth, state and territory criminal codes.

The Federal Opposition has criticised the sedition laws introduced last year for being too draconian on freedom of speech, yet narrow in that they appear to only criminalise acts viewed as undermining a government.

Now here is one of the few advantages of having a foreign head of state; The Queen of England isn’t all that interested in any prerogative to interpret Australian law for political ends and a Prime Minister doesn’t have the same grunt as a President.

I would have thought Mark Vaile had enough on his plate interpreting tacit approval of bribery and kickbacks to Saddam’s war machine without worrying about what constitutes seditious literature.

We seem doomed to be plagued by ignorant, paranoid conservatives who see evil in books rather than in actions, including their own.


Praguetwin said...

It is telling how they are more than willing of accusing us of undermining the government while they do this stuff and hardley anyone seems to notice.

I'm sure you know about the scandal (linked above), being from Australia as you are, but I think few people were on to it elsewhere. Any mention of it in the Canadian press?

Cartledge said...

PT, I see the like of you and me in a special position: we are on the outside looking in.
The Canadian media is just slightly better than the US variety in honest reporting.
Still, news is just something to keep the ads nicely spaced, there is no passion involved.
I prefer to use Australian, British and European sources because the news competition is far more alive in those cultures.
As to the Oil for Food, I cover it regularly but am assured it is considered 'boring as bat shit' by most readers.
I consider funding Iraqs war machine to the tune of $300 mill anything but boring.