Attorney-General's Department. CC-BY

Attorney-General George Brandis. Image copyright Attorney-General's Department (CC-BY)

EFA is disappointed that the Attorney-General has ignored the major threats to freedom of expression in Australia in framing the terms of reference for the parliamentary inquiry he announced today.

The extremely narrow terms of reference for this inquiry mean that it is not ‘an inquiry into freedom of speech’ as the Attorney’s media release claims.

There are many serious threats to free expression in 21st century Australia, including our archaic and inconsistent defamation laws, section 35P of the ASIO Act, censorship of the Internet and the chilling effects of mass surveillance.

EFA Executive Officer Jon Lawrence said today, “if the Attorney wants to call his inquiry one into ‘freedom of speech’ then he needs to include the major threats to free expression in the terms of reference. The issues around section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act hardly qualify as major threats to free expression.”

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