Sedition, Security and Human Rights: 'Unbalanced' Law Reform in the 'War on Terror'
Posted: 24 Apr 2007
This article provides a review of the history, structure and form of the law of sedition, focusing on the new provisions inserted into the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) in 2005 as part of a wider counter-terrorism package. A short historical review of sedition in Australia is followed by a critical analysis of the new offences, which explores the constitutional and human rights implications of these new offences. Critical attention is given to the process of law reform that seeks to 'balance' security and human rights, focusing on the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission which emerged from the retrospective review of the 2005 reforms. Our conclusion is that the 'balanced' model endorsed by the Australian Law Reform Commission produces incoherence in relation to the definition of offences and 'good faith' defences. In particular, incoherence is produced by definitions of offences that are over-inclusive or under-inclusive depending on the rationale (security or human rights) which is accorded priority.
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