Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sedition: Maxim, and last minute panic

The Justice & Electoral Committee will be hearing submissions on the Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Bill tomorrow morning, and the Maxim institute has crawled out of the woodwork to defend sedition. According to Maxim, complete repeal would be "ill-advised and rushed", and it is important that the law protects order and traditional authority. But not even they can defend the current law, instead suggesting it be narrowed to cover

only words that deliberately incite violence against legitimate authority and which create a direct or immediate danger of this violence actually occurring.

Of course, the Crimes Act already forbids inciting violence where there is a direct or immediate danger of this occuring by various means, including the laws governing parties to offences, riot, or even treason (which includes conspiring to use force to overthrow the government of New Zealand). With these powers at the police's disposal, its difficult to see why they would need a narrowed sedition.

Meanwhile, I'll also be appearing before the committee, along with DPF (hence the flurry of Sedition by Example earlier in the evening as I got some of my evidence in order). I've been researching this issue for almost three years, and at the end of it all I get five minutes to make my case. I'll let you know how it went when I get back tomorrow night.