Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Alert and alarmed: art under fire

A long article by various artists discussing the new Australian sedition laws.

`Minister, if you do not intend further repression, may I ask you this? Why did agents claiming to be from the Attorney-General’s Department visit the filmmaker Carmel Travers, who had on her computer a manuscript from whistle-blower Andrew Wilkie, and smash the hard drives of her two computers with hammers, a process they referred to as “cleansing”? Four other Australians, including Robert Manne, were similarly dealt with.

The victims were warned it was an offence to tell anyone what had happened, even their partners, a form of bullying which, being accustomed to the traditions of free speech, they ultimately ignored. Most absurdly of all, Wilkie’s manuscript, Axis of Deceit, had already been published.’

`Messenger: Take care. Thou must not bring the government into disrepute.

Jester: A plague on both their houses!

Messenger: That be seditious as well – thou canst not bring either house of Parliament into disrepute.

Jester: Can its repute be more dis? The lower chamber is a bordello of harlots, pimps and coxcombs; the Senate nought but a braying stall of yea-sayers

Messenger: Coz, I beg thee be silent! Sedition catches all – who can say that it not be soon against the law to bring pimps and coxcombs into disrepute?’

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