Panel Discussion: ‘Free speech – how far is too far?’

Millions are using technology every day to share, shame and celebrate, making social media both a powerful and destructive tool of free speech. But there are many unresolved questions of regulation and legal liability.

Is the law keeping pace with technology and free speech? Or doesn’t it matter; should we be able to say whatever we like – and let the legal system decide how far is too far?

What happens when jurors use social media in court cases that result in aborted trials or when family law litigants destroy each other on Facebook?

La Trobe Law School is pleased to invite you to attend the sixth event in La Trobe’s Bold Thinking Series with thought leaders on “Free speech – how far is too far?”.


Dr Nicola Henry

Dr Nicola Henry is a Senior Lecturer in Crime, Justice and Legal Studies at La Trobe University. Her research focuses on the prevalence and nature of sexual violence, and the legal and non-legal responses to these harms in Australian and international contexts. She has recently completed an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery project examining digital abuse and harassment (with Dr Anastasia Powell, RMIT University) and she is currently the lead Chief Investigator of a Criminology Research Grant that focuses on the non-consensual distribution of nude or sexually explicit images, also known as “revenge pornography”.

She has published widely in the sexual violence and social justice fields, including: War and Rape: Law, Memory and Justice (2011: Routledge); Preventing Sexual Violence: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Overcoming a Rape Culture (2014: Palgrave Macmillan; co-edited with Dr Anastasia Powell); Rape Justice: Beyond the Criminal Law (2015: Palgrave Macmillan; co-edited with Dr Anastasia Powell & Dr Asher Flynn), and Sexual Violence in a Digital Era (forthcoming 2017; Palgrave Macmillan; co-authored with Dr Anastasia Powell).

Professor Patrick Keyzer

Professor Patrick Keyzer is a Professor of Law and Head of La Trobe Law School. He is a barrister who has represented people in the Victorian Supreme Court, High Court of Australia and United Nations Human Rights Committee.  In his book Open Constitutional Courts, Professor Keyzer argued that constitutional cases should be seen as acts of political speech, and that, consequently, litigation costs orders should not apply in constitutional cases. More recently, he has been researching the impact of social media on the courts, and remains puzzled by the paradox that some people will publish things to the world on social media that they would never say to someone’s face. He is a stout defender of the power of democratically-elected governments to determine the limits of free speech.  He has a long interest in the topic, having taught constitutional law for 25 years and appeared as counsel in more than a few cases that have raised thorny free speech issues.

Chris Berg

Chris Berg is a Senior Fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs, and heads up the red tape and criminal justice projects. He is the author of five books including In Defence of Freedom of Speech: from Ancient Greece to Andrew Bolt. Berg, who joined the IPA in 2004, is one of Australia’s most prominent voices for free markets and individual liberty, and a leading authority on over-regulation, economic freedom and civil liberties. Under his editorship, the IPA Review won the Fisher Prize for best free market magazine in 2008. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of Melbourne.

Shen Narayanasamy

Shen Narayanasamy is GetUp!’s Human Rights Campaign Director. She leads the No Business in Abuse campaign, which targets corporate involvement in mandatory detention of asylum seekers, and #LetThemStay, which aims to prevent the deportation of hundreds of asylum seekers to Nauru. Narayanasamy’s background is as a human rights lawyer and advocate working in Australia and across the Asia Pacific on issues of economic justice and land rights.


Date: Thursday 27 October 2016

Time: 6.30pm to 8.00pm

Venue: Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne

Cost: $10 (General Public, Staff, Alumni) / $5 (Students)

Register: Please register via the corresponding La Trobe University Event Page.


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