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Australian Society of Authors

Dear Editor,

The Australian Society of Authors has written to Attorney-General Philip Ruddock to oppose any moves to ban books. The ASA is very concerned by any move to ‘ban books’ under the guise of ‘counselling, urging, providing instruction or praising terrorism’ and hence determined as seditious. Under current law, it is a crime to publish ‘seditious words’, and the provisions within that law enable federal and state jurisdictions to take action if warranted. It is the view of the ASA that our members currently operate responsibly within this restriction and will continue to do so, even when critical of any government in power at the time.

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Back in April, when Peter Rose asked me to write an irregular column for ABR on the campaigns that the Australian Society of Authors runs on behalf of writers, it seemed perfectly clear what the subject of my first column should be. At that time, after years of hints and veiled threats, the Government had finally revealed its hand and introduced a Bill into Federal Parliament to allow the parallel importation of books. The Government wanted this legislation passed before the end of the financial year – it was a priority item.

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