The Guardian 23 November, 2005

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Letters to the Editor

Sedition laws have wider objectives

As a filmmaker and political activist I am extremely concerned these proposed Anti-Terror and Sedition laws appear to have the objective to stop free speech, challenge the right to peaceful protest and stop the questioning of bad government policies on all levels. It doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with stopping terrorism at all.

My Iraq documentaries could see me thrown in jail for seven years for "assisting, by any means whatever, an organisation or country at war with the Commonwealth" or "bringing the Sovereign into hatred or contempt or by urging disaffection against the Government". If we the citizens can’t protest or urge disaffection against the Government on issues we disagree with what sort of a democracy do we have? What did our forefathers die defending?

Jesus, Ghandi and Nelson Mandela have all been charged and sometimes imprisoned for so called "Sedition". Are these people terrorists or people who have now been recognised as visionaries for a fairer and more just world? I am concerned these laws will attempt to do what they tried to do to these people to the future shame of our beautiful country.

In Peace

Dean Jefferys
Mullumbimby, NSW

Opposition to "anti-terror" legislation

My wife Joy and I attended the single presentation of Sedition with Wendy Harmer, Andrew Denton, et al at the Sydney Theatre Company on November 13. It was promoted as a protest meeting against the Howard Government’s insidious and vicious "anti terrorist" legislation and that is really what it was.

Of special significance was the fact that the theatre was full, a complete sell-out! And they were all there to express their concerns and demonstrate their opposition to the legislation.

I was reminded of the heroic campaign against the anti Communist legislation in the 1950s and the courageous role of Dr Evatt.

However this current legislation has the capacity to be even more draconian and savage in the denial of human rights.

Congratulations on your feature items concerning the legislation in the November 12 edition of The Guardian. Your readers must continue to support your efforts. Our donation towards the Press Fund is enclosed.

Bob Brown
Nelson Bay, NSW

One blessing we could do without

Last week Adelaide was "blessed" by Rumsfeld’s presence. Security was such that Adelaide citizens found themselves in "no go" zones. I find it amusing that such a great friend of the Australian Government should be protected so much from the grateful public. But then again — it just shows that the powers to be know how much they are detested by normal people. Nothing personal — just politics.

I have a dream (a very modest one) that one day all these people will be having their meetings on some far away man-made island. Behind barbed wire, transported there by some mysterious planes.

As for their outfits — it seems that they favour orange for other people so I see no reason why they should not be wearing something tasteful in orange. And they could stay there all their lives — discussing their new projects, their new campaigns and comparing notes.

And if they have a really strong disagreement they could always declare a war or two and sort it out between themselves. On the spot. Without involving other people who have other things to do — to work, raise children and most of all, live in peace.

I know it’s a silly dream but I’m just sick and tired of these so-called leaders who trash other people’s places with complete disregard and impunity.

I also strongly object to decisions taken behind our backs. Like the one providing Americans with bombing facilities in Australia. Have they run out of space in their own country? What’s the deal when some bombers (with or without depleted uranium, by the way) will start dropping their stuff on what was described as "an empty space".

Is it as empty as it was during Maralinga experiments? Is it empty of animal and bird life? Is it empty of vegetation? How dare they to fly over and just drop their deadly bombs! I think the present government is sailing very close to what would have been classified as treacherous behaviour.

Unfortunately, we as a people have elected them to that position. But we also should have a right to hold them responsible for their actions. I don’t remember saying to the government "go and have some of the country bombed". Do you?

Sally Smith
Campsie, NSW

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