Freedom of Speech, Rule of Law and Political Debate in Australia

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RoLIA CEO Kate Burns spoke to the NSW Economics and Business Educators Legal Update Conference on 2 August 2013. Her topic was freedom of speech, the rule of law and political debate in Australia. Her paper is available and the links below provide a guide to some of the relevant cases and media discussed.

General
  • Crikey’s list of famous Australian defamation battles, media article
Coleman v Power [2004] HCA 39

Pat Coleman stood in Townsville Mall with a placard ‘get to know your local corrupt-type coppers’ and called police ‘slimy lying bastards’. He was charged with various offences, but successfully challenged his conviction for insulting police in the High Court.High Court judgment summary for

Monis v the Queen [2013] HCA 4

Mr Monis, the author of letters to the families of slain Australian soliders was charged with a criminal offence with regard to using the postal service in an unlawful manner. He and a co-accused appealed to the District Court of NSW, the Criminal Court of Appeal and finally the High Court that the offence was invalid according to the Australian Constitution because it restricted the freedom of political communication.

  • Rule of Law Institute training videos on researching a High Court case – how to find judgment summaries, read citations and how the court came to its decision. Uses Monis v the Queen as the example. videos
  • The judgment summary of Monis v the Queen & Anor [2013] HCA 4 judgment summary
  • High Court rules on constitutional appeal of Sheik Man Haron Monis media article
  • Sydney man admits sending abusive letters to dead Afghanistan veterans’ families, media article
Adelaide Street Preachers

Adelaide City Council passed regulations which prevented two brothers from preaching in Rundle Mall in Adelaide. The regulations were appealed to the High Court, but the appeal was ultimately dismissed.

  • The judgment summary of Attorney-General for the State of South Australia v  Corporation of the City of Adelaide [2013] HCA 3, judgment summary
  • New rules limit size of street preaching groups, media article
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