Free Speech

Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. The term “freedom of expression” is sometimes used synonymously but includes any act of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

Featured Publication

Publications

Criminalising Hate Speech: Australia’s crusade against vilification
Monica Wilkie
18 September 2019 | AP6

In Australia, there are a range of criminal and civil vilification laws that exist to provide recourse for victims of vilification. However, most states and territories are currently reviewing their vilification laws as there is the belief they inadequately protect minorities. In the wake of…

University Freedom Charters: How best to protect free speech on Australian campuses
Jeremy Sammut
07 October 2018 | PP10

This POLICY Paper recommends how and why a ‘university freedom charters’ policy that is backed with financial penalties for non-compliance might operate to actively spur Australian universities to implement appropriate measures to address anti-free speech disruptive behaviour and properly protect freedom of thought and expression.…

Conflict vs Mistake: Academic cultures and explanatory conflict
Claire Lehmann
11 September 2018 | OP167

The 2018 Helen Hughes Lecture explains why and how universities are fuelling the corrosive identity politics phenomena that is sweeping western countries. With a mix of erudition and common sense, Claire Lehmann — the founder and editor-in-chief of renowned online magazine Quillette — unpacks complicated…

Let Money Speak
Simon Cowan
25 April 2018 | PP2

The government’s proposal to ban foreign donations and limit political contributions from charities is a flawed and rash proposal that would undermine democracy. It purports to ‘protect’ the public from unsubstantiated threats to democracy from foreign donations and unregulated contributions to public debate. It is…

What’s happened to the University?
Frank Furedi, Marguerite Johnson, Steven Schwartz
05 February 2018 | OP163

Trigger warnings, cultural appropriation and safe spaces. Who decided to bestow guardian status to Australian universities? And why should we let this proliferation of politically correct ideals become the norm, prescribing, censoring or outright banning texts, gagging speech and curbing the exchange of ideas? “The…

Media & Commentary

Moral terror
Tom Switzer
23 July 2020 | Ideas@TheCentre

You know we live in a strange world when classical liberal think tanks, such as the Centre for Independent Studies, are forced to draw comfort from the statements of Noam…

Linguistic Humbug
Monica Wilkie
23 July 2020 | Ideas@TheCentre

The culture war — and its current battlefront ‘cancel culture’ —  is exacerbated because the opposing sides are not speaking the same language . Depending on your beliefs, cancel culture…

In bed with Noam: The fight to say what you think makes strange bedfellows
Tom Switzer
11 July 2020 | SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

You know we live in a strange world when people like me are forced to draw comfort from the statements of Noam Chomsky and Bernie Sanders supporter Zephyr Teachout. The…

Respect and Division: How Australians view religion
Monica Wilkie
06 December 2019 | ideas@theCentre

Australians’ famously tolerant attitude toward religion endures. But this view has a clear blind spot — religious organisations. Our research indicates Australians are viewing religion as mostly a personal belief,…

Beware unintended consequences, Prime Minister
Tom Switzer
09 November 2019 | SMH

An important rule of politics is the law of unintended consequences. Implement hasty and radical policy and you will almost surely realise you’ve created many things you did not intend…