Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600
FROM: Dr Russell Blackford
30 Birchgrove Drive
Wallsend, NSW 2287
Consultation regarding Constitution Alteration (Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Press) 2019
1. I refer to the above public consultation, and thank you for the opportunity to make this submission.
2. I am an academic philosopher with a special interest in legal and political philosophy, including issues relating to traditional civil and political liberties such as freedom of religion and freedom of speech. I have published widely on these topics. In particular, my published books include Freedom of Religion and the Secular State (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) and The Tyranny of Opinion: Conformity and the Future of Liberalism (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019). My formal qualifications include an LLB with First Class Honours from the University of Melbourne and a PhD in philosophy from Monash University, where my doctoral dissertation applied ideas from liberal theory and philosophy of law to certain topical issues in bioethics.
The Commonwealth, a State or a Territory must not limit freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to hold and express ideas and opinions, and in particular to receive and impart ideas and opinions by means of present and future communication technologies.
However, a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory may limit the freedom of expression only if, and only to the extent that, the limitation is
(a) reasonable and justifiable to protect individual reputation or privacy; or
(b) for any other reason, demonstrably necessary for the viability of an open, free and democratic society.
2 August 2021