Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sedition law an attack on free speech

The case of Tim Selwyn's prosecution for sedition shows Labour's complete utter contempt for individual freedom, and demonstrates the truth of one of Helen Clark's early statements "the state is sovereign" to justify her view that the government can do what the hell it likes once it is elected. I'd disagree vehemently with many of Tim Selwyn's views (he has commented on Not PC's blog), but no matter my agreement or otherwise, he deserves the protection of free speech.
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It's not often that I will agree with former Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, but Libertarianz Leader Bernard Darnton's quotes him in the party press release as below:
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"Selwyn's act of vandalism has already been dealt with under a separate charge, to which he's pleaded guilty. The sedition charge is simply an attempt to punish criticism of the government..
The law against sedition is a medieval hangover that should be removed from our law books immediately. Sedition law is an assault on free speech - it only criminalises political expression. Speech that really incites violence can be dealt with under existing laws against public disorder, as pointed out by Sir Geoffrey Palmer during a review of Crimes Act Reform: 'Sedition should not be a crime in a democratic society committed to free speech. Libelling the government must be permitted in a free society.'
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Indeed! Every party in Parliament should oppose this, ACT should be crying this at the top of its lungs, but silent. I think it's quaint for Rodney Hide to be dancing on TV, but where is ACT - the liberal party on something so simple as this? The same place as National sadly - silent. Imagine what a reaction those parties would get from the left for supporting abolition of sedition laws - isolating Labour.
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David Farrar and No Right Turn (who has written extensively and well on this) agree with me on this. Abolish sedition as a crime. Follow this case at Tim Selwyn's blog Tumeke and his website.

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