Flat White

Freedom of speech? Tell 'em they're dreaming

8 April 2022

9:00 AM

8 April 2022

9:00 AM

Last week, the High Court released the details of its judgment in the case of Ruddick v. Commonwealth of Australia. (Disclosure John Ruddick is a friend.)

In a 4-3 decision, the High Court ruled that a grossly offensive law, passed by the Labor-Liberal-National parties cartel, can stand. Through this law:

The Liberal and Labor Parties combined to change the Electoral Act to require the deregistration of any political party with a name containing the words Liberal or Labor.

I was torn over this case. On the one hand, I thought it ludicrous and offensive that the use of generally understood words could be monopolised by political parties for political purposes. What’s next? A limitation on the word ‘Party’?

On the other hand, the judgment clearly punctured the myth and fantasy that Australians have a constitutional right of free speech.


Like mystical oracles, High Court justices have for several decades found words between words and inside the words of the Australian Constitutions. They, as unelected Judges, have legislated to create an implied freedom of speech.

So magical and powerful is this right that it does not need to be written down. Sufficient it is to be implied.

The problem with freedom of speech is that it is not just a legal matter but it is also a culture. And sadly, Australia does not have a free speech culture.

That statutes, such as Section 18C of the Race Discrimination Act, can remain on the books for over 25 years, across Liberal and Labor Governments, is a reflection of not just the absence of a constitutionally protected right but the tolerance of the Australian people for the suppression of speech.

It does not start at our parliaments. It ends there. And without a Constitutional disinfectant, a clearly worded and not implied disinfectant, it will spread like a bat soup virus.

The anti-free speech sentiments often start in our universities and amoung our fragile elites who believe that words are violence. All the happy to excuse many cases of actual violence. They are happy to be Je suis Charlie, just as long as Charlie does not offend the sensibilities of an intersectional class.

Well. The Bill for this will arrive soon. I wait for the next time The Liberal and Labor Parties combine to change the Electoral Act. Will they ban other political parties? Why not.

Stephen Spartacus regularly writes at Sparty’s Cast.

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