Freedom of Expression: European and Australian Perspectives
This article explores the legal frameworks supporting the right to freedom of expression in Europe and Australia. Whereas in Europe there are overlapping protections of this right embedded within highly visible, legally binding instruments, the Australian protection rests on a judicial constitutional implication. Despite fundamental differences in salience, visibility and scope, it appears that neither jurisdiction is averse to limiting the right to free speech in certain circumstances, for instance when expressions are deemed gratuitously offensive. It is evident that the limits imposed on the freedom of expression both in Europe and in Australia determine the nature of the right. Whether or not the multiple layers of legal protection in Europe provide a bulwark against the erosion of the right to speech in Europe, this article reveals the comparative fragility of the constitutional implication in Australia.