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Speech Matters:
Getting Free Speech Right


Why are Australians getting free speech Wrong?

(Trade paperback)
Available. Dispatched 2-3 business days

Why are Australians getting free speech Wrong?

Australia is the land of the 'Fair Go'. But does this extend to giving everyone the right to speak freely about politics? While most Australains take this vital freedom for granted, in Speech Matters political analyst Katharine Gelber shows why many of Australia's laws and policies are actually damaging our democratic ideals.

A council officer shuts down a Sydney art exhibition that challenges the basis for the Iraq war; big day out organisers are attacked for asking attendees not to wear the australian flag after the Cronulla riots. Gelber investigates a wide range of political expression to discover what value australians place on free speech: from the national flag, hate speech and anti-terrorism laws to protest, campaigns against corporate actions and provocative art. Gelber considers the rules that regulate our speech and actions alongside the views of everyday australians on these issues.

What Gelber finds is a political culture that is failing free speech. In Australia, powerful companies can silence dissent, and even peaceful protest can be difficult to carry out. Filled with controversial examples to fuel the debate, Speech Matters challenges australians to rethink freedom of speech. It’s time to give everyone a voice in running the country.

Katharine Gelber, author of Speech Matters: Gerring Free Speech Right

Katharine Gelber

Katharine Gelber is an Associate Professor of Politics in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland. She has researched and taught in Australian politics and human rights for well over a decade. Since 2004 Gelber has been investigating how freedom of speech manifests in contemporary Australian politics, and actively engaging in public discussions on such topics as anti-terror legislation and academic freedom.


‘this timely book…makes us face whether free speechmatters more than we apparently think and whether we need to do moreto uphold and encourage it.' – The HonMichael Kirby AC CMG, Justice of the High Court of Australia 1996–2009.

‘At a time when a considered response to the issuesraised by freedom of speech is sorely needed this work is a welcome, insightfuland considered addition to the public debate. The book is a rare blend ofpolitical insight, legal research and social science and more than amplydemonstrates that speech does matter.’ – Linda Matthews, Queensland PrivacyCommissioner