Former High Court Chief Justice to discuss free speech on campus

13-Sep-2018

Robert French AC asks if a Charter of Rights is needed to protect free speech at universities

Robert French AC asks if a Charter of Rights is needed to protect free speech at universities


Former Chief Justice of the High Court, the Honourable Robert French AC, will deliver the eighth Austin Asche Oration in Law and Governance at Parliament House on 17 September.

This oration honours the service of Austin Asche AC QC to the people of the Northern Territory and his contribution to the law, tertiary education and to the community. It is jointly hosted by CDU and the Australian Academy of Law.

Mr French’s oration is titled “Free speech and the law on campus” and will explore whether there is a need for a charter of rights specific to universities.

Recent public discussion about academic freedom and freedom of expression on university campuses in Australia and other countries has led to a debate about the limits of freedom and control of speech in higher education.

Mr French’s oration will canvass the context and history of those freedoms, whether they are under threat and if special measures are needed to protect free speech and diversity of views in our higher learning institutions.

A question and answer session will follow Mr French’s oration.

Mr French has held a number of significant legal positions and was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia in 2008 and served in that position until 2017.

He is an Adjunct Professor at both the University of Western Australia’s Law School and the Monash University Law School. He is a Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Australian National University.

Last year Mr French was appointed a Chancellor of the University of Western Australia.    

The Austin Asche Oration in Law and Governance will be held on Monday, 17 September from 5pm to 7pm at the Nitmiluk Lounge Level 4, Parliament House. The event is free and open to members of the public. RSVP to E: cduevents@cdu.edu.au or P: 8946 6554.