[Linux-aus] Linux Australia President's update

Bret Busby bret at busby.net
Thu Apr 28 10:55:02 UTC 2005

On Thu, 28 Apr 2005, Jonathan Oxer wrote:

> This is an area which really gets under my skin. The idea that I could
> be legally prevented from sitting down at my computer and writing
> whatever code comes into my head seems to me very much like an erosion
> of the right to free speech.

A slight correction here.

A misconception exists in Australia, as to the existence of a "right to 
free speech".

There is no "right to free speech" in Australia.

It is like the "right to own a firearm". In Australia, no such thing 
exists (unless it exists in a particular state or territory).

Neither does a freedom of choice in voting in federal elections, 
exist. A voter is required by law, to vote for unwanted candidates, in 
order to cast a valid vote.

These "rights" may be components of the USA constitution, but, as yet, 
we are not officially part of the USA, and we are not, as yet, entitled 
to rights conferred on USA citizens, by the USA constitution (even if we 
are victims of the USA Patriot Act and the USA intellectual property 

The Australian federal constitution, the Constitution Act, does not 
grant these rights, and is rather for the definition of the authority 
of the state and federal governments (such as the provision that 
authorises the federal government to implement racial segregation, or 
Apartheid, in Australia).

Neither do we have a Bill of Rights, that confers these perceived 

And, the High Court, as the Australian constitutional court, and the 
Federal Court, have ruled that the UN International Covenant on Civil 
and Political Rights, is not legally binding in Australia.

So, a "right to free speech" in Australia, is a figment of people's 

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
  you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
   Chapter 28 of
   "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
   A Trilogy In Four Parts",
   written by Douglas Adams,
   published by Pan Books, 1992


More information about the linux-aus mailing list