Brandis keynote speaker at Free Speech symposium

July 8, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Federal Attorney-General George Brandis QC will be the keynote speaker at the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Free Speech 2014 Symposium, to be held in Sydney next month.

Senator George Brandis

Senator George Brandis

The President of the Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs; the Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson; the Australian Law Reform Commission President, Professor Rosalind Croucher; and Bret Walker SC from St James’ Hall Chambers are among those scheduled to speak at this event.

“The symposium will bring together key interests in academia, civil society, the legal community and business to put all free speech issues on the table,” Commissioner Wilson said.

“The importance of free speech in our liberal democracy has been taken for granted; it is time to reassert this important human right.

“The symposium will help us identify where there are encroachments on free speech and will enable us to build a new alliance on the need for free speech reform.

“The Free Speech 2014 Symposium will identify the issues and provide a roadmap for reform.”

Commissioner Wilson said Australia has a good track record on free speech, compared to many other countries, “but we cannot afford to be complacent. It is essential to periodically take stock of where restrictions have emerged.”

Commissioner Wilson said Australia has legitimate restrictions on free speech but these should be applied consistently, not selectively.

“We need a fully informed debate about free speech, including the role played by non-legislative measures that help civilise conduct while avoiding the imposition of censorship,” Commissioner Wilson said.

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