Lucinda Lecture 2020: Whither the Implied Freedom of Political Communication?

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Event Details

27 August 2020 at 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Online via Zoom
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In recent years, the implied freedom of political communication has become one of the more frequently litigated constitutional issues in the High Court of Australia. That is remarkable given the relatively recent recognition of the implied freedom, the differences of judicial opinion that attended its formulation, and forceful criticisms of the doctrine. Critics have said that the doctrine is the product of impermissible judicial activism, and so uncertain and ambiguous in its application that it has failed and will go on failing.

In this year's lecture, the Honourable Justice Nettle will explain why it might be thought that, despite such differences of judicial opinion and the difficulties and uncertainties that are said to have attended the doctrine's application, the implied freedom of political communication is soundly based in accepted constitutional principle. His Honour will also explain how the recent invocation of structured proportionality analysis as a test of “appropriateness and adaptedness” is likely to result in increased certainty in the doctrine’s application.


The Hon Justice Geoffrey Nettle AC, High Court of Australia

The Honourable Justice Geoffrey Nettle has served as a justice of the High Court of Australia since February 2015. At the time of his appointment, he was a judge of the Victorian Court of Appeal, to which he was appointed in June 2004. Before that he served as a judge of the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Victoria, to which he had been appointed in July 2002.

He graduated in economics from the Australian National University, in law from the University of Melbourne and as a Bachelor of Civil Law from the University of Oxford. He was admitted to practice in 1977 and joined the Victorian Bar in 1982. He was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1992. He practised in state and federal courts principally in commercial, equity, taxation and constitutional matters.

Convenors of the Lucinda Lecture:

Professor Marilyn Pittard
Faculty of Law, Monash University

Emeritus Professor HP Lee
Faculty of Law, Monash University

Patron of the Lucinda Lecture:

Professor the Honourable Marilyn Warren AC QC
Vice Chancellor's Professorial Fellow, Faculty of Law, Monash University

Elly Mitchell
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