Legislative Council: Thursday, March 21, 2024


Writers' Week

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (15:11): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Attorney-General, representing the Minister for Arts, regarding Adelaide Writers' Week.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Leaders in the Jewish community have been calling for Ms Clementine Ford to be banned from participating in Adelaide Writers' Week following her involvement in the so-called doxing of 600 Jewish Australians, which allegedly led to death threats to some victims who had their details exposed. According to the Prime Minister this incident was the impetus for the federal Labor government's recent moves to criminalise the practice of publishing personal details with malicious intent.

In reference to Ms Ford's inclusion in Adelaide Writers' Week as well as other authors allegedly with antisemitic views, Anti-Defamation Commission Chairman Dr Dvir Abramovich stated:

By putting out the welcome mat to a host of notorious anti-Israel speakers with a troubling track record of abhorrent statements, the Adelaide Festival has afforded them a degree of legitimacy and credibility that is unwarranted and has given them a mainstream space to further promote their extreme antisemitic views…

At a time when antisemitism in this country has reached a frightening historic high, their inclusion will only increase the possibility of further isolation, violence and harassment of Australian Jews.

In response to this matter the Premier stated in the media that he would not be a Premier who 'engages in censorship at arts festivals'. My question to the Attorney therefore is: does the state government consider the doxing of hundreds of Jewish Australians or people from any harassed background, allegedly leading to death threats, not to be an action serious enough to warrant preventing the perpetrator from being given a platform at a largely taxpayer and ratepayer funded event?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:13): I will be happy to pass that on to the minister the honourable member suggested and bring back a reply.