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Re: [Linux-aus] Linux Australia President's update

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 laws).

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 rights.

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 imaginations.

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