Tony Abbott, the PM, and George Brandis, the sitting Attorney-General, will fulfil an election promise next week and introduce legislation to repeal a section of Racial Discrimination Act that conservative journalist Andrew Bolt was found guilty of breaching.
The repeal of the laws that make it unlawful to offend and insult people because of their race will be the first legislation Senator Brandis will introduce to Parliament, according to The Australian newspaper.
It will change the definition of racial vilification in what the government says is a move towards restoring free speech laws to their full power.
News Corp columnist Bolt was found to have breached the law in 2011 when he penned a column about a group of ”light-skinned” indigenous Australians.
George Brandis has many leather-bound books. That much is already known about the Attorney-General, whose reading habits came to public attention recently with revelations he spent more than $20,000 of taxpayer funds on a personal library and custom bookcase that was too large to move to his new Parliament House office when the Coalition won government.
The bookcase now sits in the office of Labor senator Stephen Conroy.
But new information released by the Department of the Senate shows the full measure of devotion Senator Brandis has applied to his office library.
Timber selections, “design integrity issues” and the “scale of the books” were all canvassed in a “range of internal departmental and external discussions … held in respect of the procurement of the bookcase”.
So big was Senator Brandis’ $7000 custom made bookcase – with more than 50 metres of shelving – that the senator was given a $211 step stool to help him reach the highest books.
The installation of the enormous bookcase, in May 2010, was carried out by an external contractor.
Last Thursday Senator Brandis certified that disclosure of a confidential affidavit by ONA deputy director-general Jim Hagan and any related evidence presented to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal would be contrary to the public interest because it would “prejudice the security, defence or international relations of Australia”.
In a covering letter to Dr Fernandes, Senator Brandis acknowledged that “where a certificate is issued it presents certain challenges to a party that is not allowed access to the certified information”.
Dr Fernandes said the Attorney-General “should have provided a better explanation for this unnecessary secrecy, which serves only to prevent the public’s understanding of Australia’s international relations. After 32 years the only people who have anything to fear are officials who knew of major atrocities and covered them up.”
Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has told Fairfax Media that he would like to see the declassification of all the records of his government that relate to East Timor.
Federal Attorney-General George Brandis has moved to block the release of secret archives that would reveal the Australian government’s knowledge of Indonesian war crimes in East Timor.
Senator Brandis has issued a public interest certificate that will prevent University of NSW Associate Professor Clinton Fernandes from attending the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on Tuesday when the government argues that Justice Duncan Kerr should reject his application for access to Australian diplomatic papers and intelligence on Indonesian military operations in East Timor more than 32 years ago.
Consequently Dr Fernandes will be unable to read, hear or directly challenge the government’s arguments for continuing secrecy.
ATTORNEY-General George Brandis says the threat of a terror attack on Australia remains undiminished, rejecting Labor’s assessment that the so-called ”9/11 decade” is over. Opening an Interpol terrorism conference in Sydney today, Senator Brandis said terrorism continued ”to be a global threat of the first magnitude”.
Lets keep the fear levels high, maybe introduce political activities in the name of all Australians to ensure that a certain level of fear remains in the hearts and homes of comfortably situated Australia residents so that they will vote a liberal government in;…. its an old tried and true game played by the Howard government… don;t be fooled, learn for yourself.