Political Speech Practice in Australia: a study in local government powers

Gelber, Katharine (2005) Political Speech Practice in Australia: a study in local government powers. Australian Journal of Human Rights, 41 1: 203-231.

Author Gelber, Katharine
Title Political Speech Practice in Australia: a study in local government powers
Journal name Australian Journal of Human Rights
ISSN 1323-238X
Publication date 2005
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 41
Issue 1
Start page 203
End page 231
Total pages 29
Place of publication Chatswood, NSW, Australia
Publisher LexisNexis Butterworths
Language eng
Abstract This paper seeks to remedy in part the lack of empirical studies on practices of political speech in Australia by investigating local governments’ powers and perceptions of their role in regulating practices of political speech. It reports on the results of an empirical study conducted in 2003–04 of local government (that is, council) regulation of political speech within the public space constituted by pedestrian malls. Regulatory provisions are considered in the context of attitudes towards, and experiences of, practices of political speech within these arenas. I argue that local governments possess wide ranging powers to regulate political speech in pedestrian malls, but further and more importantly that those powers are mediated via their inconsistent and at times arbitrary application, combined with a cultural hostility to political speech. We therefore see a precarious level of protection of opportunities for political communication, as well as an important politico-cultural component in determining the fate of political speech in Australia. I conclude by outlining an alternative ‘enabling principle’ against which local governments may reconsider and reconfigure their regulatory practices in relation to this important political freedom.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Created: Thu, 22 Sep 2011, 09:30:46 EST by Dr Katharine Gelber on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies