Freedom of Expression

"Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice."
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) - Schedule 2, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986

Freedom of expression underpins the very freedom to think.  Despite this fact, Australians currently do not have an explicit constitutional right to freedom of expression like most of their counterparts in the Westernised world.   Australian courts have suggested that freedom of expression is to be found implicitly in world treaties and the Constitution itself.  In Lange v. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1997) 145 ALR 96, it was suggested that the constitutional implication of freedom of political communication acts as a brake on governmental efforts to limit what may be expressed on political matters.  It does not explicitly establish a personal right to freedom of speech.  The Court also re-affirmed that the implied freedom is not absolute.

For more of a discussion on this topic, please refer to: http://libertus.net/censor/fspeechlaw.html#implied

To see the complete decision of the Lange case, visit: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1997/25.txt


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