in Cheryl Saunders and Adrienne Stone (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Australian Constitution, Oxford University Press (2018)
24 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2019 Last revised: 28 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 20, 2019
At first glance, the Australian Constitution seems to be exceptional with respect to freedom of expression. The absence of a provision protecting freedom of expression is just one aspect of a widely noted more general feature – the sparsity of protection for rights. Yet the full picture is considerably more complicated. Freedom of expression has long had a foothold in Australian constitutional law and in 1992 the High Court of Australia developed a doctrine known as ‘the freedom of political communication’ which, to some extent, operates like a guarantee or right of freedom of expression.
This chapter, written for the Oxford Handbook of the Australian Constitution, traces the way in which freedom of expression is recognised in Australian constitutional law with special attention to the freedom of political communication. It will outline the current operation of this doctrine, seeking to identify its major themes. The chapter will also consider the extent to which the freedom of political communication resembles an explicit and generally expressed right of freedom, commonly found in other constitutions.
Keywords: constitutional law, freedom of political communication, freedom of speech, Australia
JEL Classification: K00, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation