Tag Archives: free speech

Podcast Special: Interview with Kcasey McLoughlin

A full length interview with Dr Kcasey McLoughlin (University of Newcastle), recorded at the 2016 Australian Political Studies Association conference at UNSW Australia.

The subject of the interview was his paper, titled “Offensive intrusions and protected spaces: The personal, the public and the political” with Jim Jose (University of Newcastle).

The abstract for the paper is:


    In 2013 the High Court ruled on whether the application of s.471.12 of the Criminal Code 1995 to prosecute Man Haron Monis (and his partner, Ms Amirah Droudis) for sending offensive material through the postal services contravened their right to free speech. All members of the High Court agreed the material was offensive but in an historic first the Court split on gender lines—the three women judges upheld the constitutional validity of the Criminal Code, whereas the three men judges found for Monis and Droudis. The divergent opinions adopted by the men and women judges in Monis are revealing about contemporary judicial understandings of the public and private spheres, and perhaps the political nature of the personal. We argue that these judicial opinions signal a seismic shift in how at least half the court thought about what properly belonged in which sphere. When these judgments are interpreted in the context of the political discourses which permeated the decision, both within and beyond the High Court, these judicial understandings of the contours of freedom of communication and notions of ‘harm’, ‘home’, ‘private’ and ‘public’ mean that offensive intrusions are protected, the private space of one’s home is not. Further, we argue that the judgments in Monis reveal a propensity to embed linguistic violence within judicial language and in effect give licence to antisocial, violent behaviour. In consequence, the judgments endorse a return to masculinist understandings of political behaviour and democratic practice.

Podcast Special: Interview with Katharine Gelber

A full length interview with Professor Katharine Gelber, University of Queensland , recorded at the 2016 Australian Political Studies Association conference at UNSW Australia.

The subject of the interview was his paper, titled “Free speech and human rights in Australia”

The abstract for the paper is:

    In recent years, free speech debates have featured unusually prominently in public debate in Australia. While some of these did not result in a legislative narrowing of free speech rights –an attempt to revise the definition of discrimination in federal law in 2012/13; and an attempt in 2014 to amend federal anti-vilification law – others did. Significant restrictions on freedom of speech have been enacted in the context of federal counter-terrorism legislation (2014/15), asylum seeker policy (2015), and anti-protest laws in Tasmania (2015), and in a current attempt in Western Australia to do the same. The last half decade, therefore, has seen unprecedented debate about the role of freedom of speech in Australian democracy. In this paper I will consider these events through the lens of a capabilities approach-informed analysis of the role of free speech; namely an understanding of the constitutive role of speech in individuals’ lives, and through that its role in democratic deliberation and legitimation. This approach attends to the conditions required at an individual level for democratic legitimation to occur at a social level. I will argue that the new restrictions on free speech in Australia place democratic processes of deliberation and legitimation at risk.