©2018 by polity.

  • Alex Wok

Freedom of Speech

Polity is testing out a new format for issues with no clear political affiliation. These issues often involve very broad questions, & are thus impossible to convey a 'guide-to' that represents the majority of opinion.

Accordingly, we have decided to show the arguments for positions on both extremes &, fittingly, present it in black and white as opposed to our classic blue & red. This is done to illustrate the difficulty in negotiating the correct course of action in relation to this issue.

However, at Polity, we think that these issues aren't as black and white as presented. Thus, Polity strongly urges the reader to find their own grey area.


  • Australia does not have a statutory declaration that ensures freedom of speech, nor is there an explicit right to it in the Australian Constitution. However, according to the High Court, there exists an implied right to political speech stemming from the Constitution.

  • Australia has a range of restrictions on free speech regarding discrimination, with the most prominent being the Racial Discrimination Act. It is unlikely that the protections given under this Act extend to the LGBT community.

  • In relation to the plebiscite, some want more protections given to those in the LGBT community, whilst others state that there is an overarching moral need to hear all sides of the debate. The extent to which freedom of speech is owed in Australia is further muddied by the fact that both liberals & conservatives have expressed reverse stances on freedom of speech regarding different issues, ​such as university protests.


Where do the moral

limits of free speech lie?


  1. Free Speech Debate; 'Nineteen arguments for hate speech bans — and against them'

  2. Macleans; 'Here’s the thing about free speech: It’s not absolute.'

  3. The Conversation; 'Free speech: what it is and what it isn’t'

  4. Free Speech Debate; 'Nineteen arguments for hate speech bans — and against them'

  5. Free Speech Debate; 'Nineteen arguments for hate speech bans — and against them'

  6. The Australian; 'Market forces can kill off fake news'

  7. The Conversation; 'Free speech is at risk in Australia – and it’s not from Section 18C'

  8. The Conversation; 'What is a ‘classical liberal’ approach to human rights?'

  9. ABC; 'George Brandis defends 'right to be a bigot' amid Government plan to amend Racial Discrimination Act'

  10. The Washington Post; ‘No Free Speech for Fascists’ is impossible'