Leaked Australian terror laws set 7-year jail term for promoting 'ill will'

[JURIST] A draft of new Australian terror laws [PDF] leaked to the Web by Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Jon Stanhope [official website] includes severe provisions, including a jail sentence of up to 7 years for promoting “ill will” or “hostility” among different social and political groups. Stanhope posted the draft laws on his website, saying that the Australian public had a right to know what they meant for their civil liberties, and kept them on Saturday in defiance of a removal directive from federal Attorney General Philip Ruddock. Stanhope and other Australian state leaders agreed to a federally-proposed package of tighter anti-terror laws [JURIST report] last month, but Stanhope said that the fully-articulated version he saw was "unpalatable", and another state leader, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie, said the draft lacks key provisions that were agreed upon. Spokesmen for the government of Prime Minister John Howard said the circulated draft which ended up online was not intended to be definitive, and was presented as a basis for further discussion. Backbench members of Howard's own Liberal party have expressed concern over the new legislation, and legal and rights groups, including the Law Council of Australia [profession website], have expressed repeated opposition to the "draconian" nature of the proposals. The Australian Parliament is scheduled to vote on the legislation in two weeks. ABC Australia News has more; The Australian provides additional coverage.

 

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