Protect freedom of speech at all costs

THE Australian Lawyers Alliance welcomes news from the Federal Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, that she will revisit the exposure draft of the government’s proposed anti-discrimination reforms – in particular the section removing the prohibition of causing offence. 

The draft legislation originally listed Section 19 (2) (b) dealing with “conduct that offends, insults or intimidates” for excision, on the grounds that it was potentially hindering free speech. 

This would have placed an unnecessary chill on public debate. 

The Attorney-General has now reviewed this decision and, while there is detailed work to be done to ensure the bill remains effective, it is definitely a step in the right direction. 

I welcome the opportunity for greater public debate on this issue and the willingness of the Attorney-General to consider public concerns. 

It is important that governments listen to community attitudes, especially on critical areas such as those relating to key rights like freedom of speech. 

The Australian Lawyers Alliance is a non-profit national organisation whose members promote justice, freedom and the rights of the individual under law. 

TONY KERIN

NATIONAL PRESIDENT

AUSTRALIAN LAWYERS ALLIANCE

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