High Court rules on free speech cases

Two significant free speech judgments were handed down by the High Court today:

The decision in both cases hinged on whether the laws were invalid for breaching an implied constitutional right to freedom of political communication. And in both cases the court decided that the law was valid.

These cases come after the High Court’s decision regarding Lex Wotten early last year. Wotten’s extraordinary parole conditions included a restriction on speaking with journalists and the public following his involvement in the 2004 Palm Island riot. The High Court upheld the validity of that parole condition.

Decisions such as these demonstrate how weak the implied right to freedom of political communication is. It simply can’t be relied upon for protection against laws that restrict our right to freedom of speech.

[Edited: a previous version of this post made an incorrect reference to the relevant provision of the Criminal Code Act 1995 at issue in Monis v The Queen.]

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