.

  • Written by Misha Ketchell, Editor & Executive Director, The Conversation

Because we are so saturated in American culture, very few Australians realise that free speech in this country isn’t really a thing. It is not merely not protected – it’s far worse than that. If you read any of the vast array of laws that protect government secrets, disclosure in the public interest is discouraged, criminalised, punished, and deplored.

The closest we have ever come to having any positive protection of free speech is a series of High Court decisions which say that our Constitution creates an “implied freedom” to communicate so we can be informed citizens. But it is weak. It can be cancelled out by any law that is reasonable and proportionate to achieve another government objective. Former High Court judge Michael Kirby put it bluntly on the ABC yesterday: Australia has less protection of free speech than most Western countries.

Journalists have cared about this sorry state of affairs for a long time, but their pleas have been dismissed as mere self-interest. Yes, journalists are often victims of laws that protect secrecy and target whistleblowers. But what we want, and what everyone should want, is a healthy system of government that can serve the public interest by bringing important matters to light.

The journalist and academic Denis Muller expresses the anger felt by many when he writes that Australian Federal Police, in conducting raids on the ABC and the home of News Limited journalist Annika Smethurst, have allowed themselves to become a tool of “secretive, ruthless and vindictive executive government”. Michelle Grattan writes that Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a keen defender of freedom when it comes to religion, is now faced with the perception that Australia is hostile to a free press.

Meanwhile, Peter Greste, now a Professor of Journalism at the University of Queensland, has long been advocating for greater media freedom as part of a group called the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom. In May they put out a paper suggesting we should create a law that enshrines media freedom as a positive aspect of our democratic system. Such a law would improve the balance between press freedom and national security, as well as provide a measure of protection from future legislative incursion. (Disclosure: I was part of a round table discussion during which this idea was developed.)

It’s an idea that warrants serious consideration. It’s not a First Amendment, but it could take what many of us already imagine to be the case and turn it into reality.

Authors: Misha Ketchell, Editor & Executive Director, The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/australia-doesnt-protect-free-speech-but-it-could-118448

2019 Makeup Trends

The year 2019 has brought us a lot of amazing new makeup trends that have made the process of applying makeup much more fun. Still, if we were to follow every single makeup trend out there, we would soon go bankrupt or end up with a look that doe...

Diana Smith - avatar Diana Smith

Spiritual and physical food

In many cultures there are some spiritual rules concerning foods that people are allowed to consume. And just in general, our own bodies can hint using various methods on what we should eat right now ...

News Company - avatar News Company

What to put on the road

When preparing for a road trip at the top of your list should be working out the itinerary. Gather your family together and decide on where you will go, what you will do, and what you will see. It is ...

News Company - avatar News Company

Australia's still building 4 in every 5 new houses to no more than the minimum energy standard

New housing in Australia must meet minimum energy performance requirements. We wondered how many buildings exceeded the minimum standard. What our analysis found is that four in five new houses are be...

Trivess Moore, Lecturer, RMIT University - avatar Trivess Moore, Lecturer, RMIT University

Would you eat meat grown from cells in a laboratory? Here's how it works

There is rationale for thinking about alternatives to meat. ShutterstockFor many of us, eating a meal containing meat is a normal part of daily life. But if we dig deeper, some sobering issues emerge...

Leigh Ackland, Professor in Molecular Biosciences, Deakin University - avatar Leigh Ackland, Professor in Molecular Biosciences, Deakin University

Centre-left politics: dead, in crisis, or in transition?

New Labor leader Anthony Albanese will need to negotiate the centre-left 'crisis' if he hopes to win office. AAP/Bianca de MarchiThe ALP’s defeat at the 2019 federal election was a surprise. Sho...

Rob Manwaring, Senior Lecturer, Politics and Public Policy, Flinders University - avatar Rob Manwaring, Senior Lecturer, Politics and Public Policy, Flinders University

Morrison wants to unleash economy's 'animal spirits' and foreshadows new look at industrial relations

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will lay out economic policies "to get Australians off the economic sidelines and on the field again" on Monday. Dean Lewins/AAPScott Morrison will commit to getting con...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

People who spread deepfakes think their lies reveal a deeper truth

Deepfakes make it harder for us to communicate truths to one another and reach consensus on what is real. ScreenshotThe recent viral “deepfake” video of Mark Zuckerberg declaring, “w...

Mark Andrejevic, Professor, School of Media, Film, and Journalism, Monash University - avatar Mark Andrejevic, Professor, School of Media, Film, and Journalism, Monash University

In Never Look Away we finally have a painter biopic offering insight into the creative process

Tom Schilling as Kurt Barnert – a slightly blurred facsimile of the famous German artist Gerhard Richter – in Never Look Away. Pergamon Film, Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion, Beta Cine...

Ted Snell, Professor, Chief Cultural Officer, Cultural Precinct, University of Western Australia - avatar Ted Snell, Professor, Chief Cultural Officer, Cultural Precinct, University of Western Australia

Dan Tehan wants a 'model code' on free speech at universities – what is it and do unis need it?

An independent review found there was no freedom of speech crisis at universities, but it recommended a model code of conduct. from shutterstock.comThe federal education minister, Dan Tehan, has calle...

Katharine Gelber, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, The University of Queensland - avatar Katharine Gelber, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, The University of Queensland

For women's sake, let's screen for depression as part of the new heart health checks

Research suggests depression is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. From shutterstock.comThe latest government statistics, released last week, show that from 2001-2016, the rate of cardiac eve...

Adrienne O'Neil, Principal Research Fellow & Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow, Deakin University - avatar Adrienne O'Neil, Principal Research Fellow & Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow, Deakin University

5 Home Decor Essentials for a Well Styled Home

Who doesn’t dream of a well-styled home? Well-styled and well-organised. If you are looking for decorating must-haves for your home, you have come to the right place. Consider this article mini-gu...

News Company - avatar News Company

Why Organic SEO Services Matter

Brands trying to build up their popularity are often curious to know how organic services can help them. Well, if you have heard of organic SEO, you’ll probably know it is a vital part of marketi...

News Company - avatar News Company

VIDEO: Michelle Grattan on the winding up of Australian Conservatives - and the government's income tax cuts

Michelle Grattan talks with University of Canberra Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor Leigh Sullivan, about the week in politics. The discussion includes Cory Bernardi anno...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Psst, Matildas: here's the best way to score at the Women's World Cup

Sam Kerr has found plenty of goal-scoring opportunities for the Matildas at this year's Women's World Cup. Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPASport science can offer some valuable insights to the teams contestin...

Mark Scanlan, Sessional Academic, Edith Cowan University - avatar Mark Scanlan, Sessional Academic, Edith Cowan University

The mighty mulga grows deep and lives long

Mark Marathon via Wikipedia, CC BY-SASign up to the Beating Around the Bush newsletter here, and suggest a plant we should cover at batb@theconversation.edu.au. Among the nearly 1,000 species of Aus...

Gregory Moore, Doctor of Botany, University of Melbourne - avatar Gregory Moore, Doctor of Botany, University of Melbourne

Need to find a good restaurant? Economics serves up some golden rules

Stay away from the tourists traps, economics tells us. Your best bet are those cozy places away from the bustle. www.shutterstock.comWhere to eat? It’s a question you’ve probably pondered ...

Lionel Page, Professor in Economics, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Lionel Page, Professor in Economics, University of Technology Sydney

Why revive a forgotten Australian classic? Oriel Gray's The Torrents remains relevant today

Celia Pacquola as Jenny Milford in The Torrents. A new production of the forgotten Australian play shows its themes are still relevant today Philip GostelowReview: The Torrents, Heath Ledger Theatre (...

Vivienne Glance, Hon Research Fellow in Poetry and Theatre studies, University of Western Australia - avatar Vivienne Glance, Hon Research Fellow in Poetry and Theatre studies, University of Western Australia

Difficult for Labor to win in 2022 using new pendulum, plus Senate and House preference flows

Unless Labor improves markedly with the lower-educated, they risk losing the seat count while winning the popular vote at the next election. AAP/Dan PeledAustralian elections have been won in outer ...

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne - avatar Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

LifeStyle

How to Revolutionize Your Beauty Experience

Being concerned with beauty and cosmetics used to mean frequent visits to the salon and sitting in...

8 Cool Yet Romantic Things to do in Australia

Australia is a wonderful place for vacationing this summer and you can beat the heat as they have ...

How to Banish Dark Circles without the Need for Cucumber Slices

Dark circles can be downright annoying, especially when you are getting enough sleep. So, what cau...

Innovation and Future Trends in the Beauty Industry

  When medicine, tech, and beauty join forces, there’s no stopping the innovative solutions th...