Freedom of expression and tolerance are considered core features of our democracy. Free speech was at the centre of a recent controversial debate in federal politics regarding proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act to remove the words “offend, insult, humiliate” from section 18C, and replace them with the word “harass”. The race hate debate is explored in depth through a range of opinions presented in this book.
How is free speech justified in Australia, and what laws are in place to protect people from defamation and discrimination such as racial vilification? Which speech deserves special protections; should some speech acts be punished? When does the right to freedom of expression become a right to offend? Is free speech at risk in Australia, or is the balance right?