Here’s the latest from Cth AG Phillip Ruddock in respect of the agreement he was trying to broker with the States on the “Material Advocating Terrorism” terrorism changes to the classification regulatory regime. Only NSW and SA agreed to support the changes. As the AG makes clear in the press release set out below, he intends to press ahead with Classification Amendment (Terrorist Material) Bill 2007 despite the lack of agreement at the meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys General in Hobart today.


Attorney-General Philip Ruddock today expressed strong disappointment that agreement could not be reached with State and Territory Censorship Ministers to toughen laws that deal with materials advocating acts of terror.

Mr Ruddock said the failure of the states to recognise the need to do everything possible to stop the recruitment of the impressionable and vulnerable into terrorist activity, left him with no choice but to act independently.

“Prevention is the new terrorism battleground and I am not prepared to wait indefinitely for Labor states to ensure this kind of material is removed from circulation,” Mr Ruddock said.

“As I have said before, should an attack happen in Australia I want to be able to look into the eyes of those affected and know I did everything I could to stop terrorism and the recruitment of the impressionable and vulnerable into terrorist activity.”

“Last month I introduced legislation in Parliament to allow the Australian Government to act independently from the states given that they have refused to co-operate with me to make changes to the National Classification Code and guidelines.”

At the Standing Committee of Attorneys General meeting in Hobart today only SA and NSW agreed to support changes to classification laws as proposed by the Australian Government. The changes would have required publications, films and computer games that advocate terrorist acts to be refused classification by the Classification Board and be unavailable lawfully in Australia.

The proposal included provisions to ensure the regulation would not impinge on freedom of speech or mainstream popular culture.

“I initially sought state and territory agreement to change the classification laws in July 2006, and with no progress made on this issue, I am proceeding with the Classification Amendment (Terrorist Material) Bill 2007 already introduced in the Australian Parliament,” Mr Ruddock said.

“Once the Bill is passed, the Australian Government will be in a position to deal with material that advocates terrorist acts.”