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Speech Matters
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Why is Australia's current attitude towards freedom of speech harmful to democracy? Australia is the land of the 'fair go'. But does this attitude extend to freedom of speech? Unlike the US, Australia has no Bill of Rights to protect our right to free speech, yet most Australians take this right for granted. In Speech Matters , political analyst Katharine Gelber shows why many of Australia's laws and policies, supported by the wider public, are actually harmful to democratic participation in politics. A council officer shuts down a Sydney art exhibition that sends a political message about 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 see how we value free speech: from different uses of the national flag, hate speech and anti-terrorism laws to protest, campaigns against corporate actions and art. Gelber considers the laws and policies that regulate behaviour alongside the views of everyday Australians about these issues.
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"This timely book . . . makes us face whether free speech matters more than we apparently think and whether we need to do more to uphold and encourage it." --Michael Kirby, AC, CMG, Justice of the High Court of Australia, 1996-2009

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