As a defence of freedom of expression, the Australian Society of Authors has rejected the proposal of Attorney-General Philip Ruddock to change classification guidelines to include works that advocate terrorism.
The ASA has expressed a number of concerns with regard to the proposal. “First,” says ASA Executive Director Dr Jeremy Fisher, “the Attorney-General contends there are community concerns about the public availability of material that advocates people commit terrorist acts. As a community organisation representing Australia’s literary creators, the ASA is is not aware of such community concerns. Our members certainly have not expressed any concern about material that supposedly advocates terrorist acts. Rather, they have expressed concern that this proposed legislation, along with the sedition provisions of the government’s anti-terrorist legislation, further erodes their freedom of expression as writers”.