It's time we did something about the criminalisation of sedition.
For those who haven't read my recent posts on the subject, sedition is the "crime" of saying things that the government doesn't like. The law specifically targets speech which "excites disaffection" against them or which could bring them into "hatred or contempt" (examples here). Predicated on a paternalistic feudal belief that the ruled should not simply obey, but love their rulers, and therefore utterly incompatible with modern ideas about relations between citizen and state, it should have been struck from the books long ago.
So, I'm looking for a Member of Parliament willing to take a private member's bill on the matter. My first draft of such a bill is below:
Crimes (Repeal of Archaic Crimes) Amendment Bill 2005
Title and Commencement
1. This Act is the Crimes (Repeal of Archaic Crimes) Amendment Act 2005
2. This Act shall come into force immediately upon receiving the Royal Assent.
Amendments to the Crimes Act 1961
3. Sections 81 - 85 of the Crimes Act 1961 are hereby repealed.
4. No person shall be liable to be convicted of an offence against any of sections 81 - 85 of the Crimes Act 1961 committed before the commencement of this Act.
Given their strong record on civil liberties issues, this is the sort of bill I'd expect the Greens to take. Unfortunately, MPs are only allowed one bill on the ballot at a time, and all their slots are full. The same applies to Matt Robson. Other MPs however do have space, and I am hoping to convince one of them to put the bill forward. Otherwise, we will have to lobby parties to make it a priority in the next Parliamentary term.
I do not care which party picks this up and runs with it; all I care about is that this obscene law is repealed. For a supposedly modern state which affirms the freedoms of conscience, expression and association to still have this sorts of law on the books is shameful, and the sooner it is relegated to the dustbin of history where it belongs, the better.