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Freedom of speech and race hate speech in Australia

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Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights

Seminar Series

Words that Wound: Freedom of speech and race hate speech in Australia

18 November 2008

The Australian Human Rights Commission was pleased to present the fourth of its seminar series celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), entitled Words that Wound: Freedom of speech and hate speech in Australia.

The seminar featured three speakers:

  • The Hon. Catherine Branson QC is the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission. Before assuming the position of President of the Commission on 14 October 2008, Ms Branson had served for over 14 years as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia. She was the trial judge in Jones v Toben, the first case on internet hate speech brought under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth), seeking removal from a website of material offensive to people on the basis of their race or ethnic origin.

  • Hanifa Deen is a Melbourne-based award winning author of Pakistani-Muslim ancestry who writes narrative non-fiction. Her books include: 'Caravanserai: A Journey Among Australian Muslims',' Broken Bangles', and 'The Crescent and the Pen'. Her most recent book, 'The Jihad Seminar' (UWA Press) has just been released. She has held a number of high profile positions including: Deputy Commissioner of the Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission of WA; Hearing Commissioner with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, and also served as a director on the Board of SBS for five years.

  • Gail Mason is Associate Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law and the director of Sydney Institute of Criminology at the University of Sydney. Prior to this she taught in Gender Studies at the University of Sydney and Criminology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She has previously worked for the Australian Institute of Criminology in Canberra. Gail’s research revolves around the issues of hate crime and discrimination. She is especially interested in the ways in which legal and social discourse constitute our understandings of what it means to ‘hate’ others. Gail has a history of involvement in community organisations and government bodies.

Audio

Photos

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Panel for Words that Wound The Hon. Catherine Branson, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission