Fighting Words: A Review of Sedition Laws in Australia (ALRC Report 104)

ALRC Report 104 (tabled 13 December 2006) is the final report of the ALRC’s Inquiry into sedition offences contained in the Commonwealth Criminal Code and related offences in Part IIA of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).

Historically, sedition law has been used to suppress political dissent, punishing speech that is critical of the established order. Stakeholders, including politicians across party lines, expressed concerns that sedition laws introduced by the Anti-Terrorism Act (No 2) 2005 (Cth) and which targeted activity promoting terrorist activity, had the potential to inhibit freedom of expression and free association.

In the Fighting Words, the ALRC made a range of recommendations to improve the existing law. Some of these represent technical refinements to the drafting. Mainly, however, the recommendations are aimed at ensuring there is a bright line between freedom of expression—even when exercised in a challenging or unpopular manner—and the reach of the criminal law, which should focus on exhortations to the unlawful use of force or violence.

View ALRC Report 104 in HTML on the AustLII website.

This publication is available for purchase in book format.