The Future of Free Speech

Verity Lane Market

​This book dives headfirst into the contemporary controversy over the limits of free speech.

Changing conceptions of what constitutes legitimate harm coupled with the advent of the internet and social media have provided a challenging environment for defining the boundaries of acceptable speech in our contemporary society. This book argues that these problems emerge due to flaws in our free speech framework, leaving the argument for free speech vulnerable to becoming inverted into a justification for censorship. In response, this book argues for a version of free speech based on a framework of toleration. Drawing on the work of the philosopher Rainer Forst, a new justification for free speech is formulated – reflexive freedom of speech – which aims to overcome past issues and justify free speech in a way that is universal, consistent and just.

Join Andrew Wilkie MP, Dr Benjamin Walters, and Dr Richard Denniss, to launch The Future of Free Speech.


Andrew Wilkie MP has been the Independent Member for Clark (previously called Denison) since 2010. He has a strong sense of social justice and his flagship issues include gambling, animal welfare, climate change, asylum seekers and foreign and security policy. Andrew famously blew the whistle over the fraudulent reasons for Australia joining in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which helps to explain his continuing strong advocacy for media freedom and whistleblower protections. Andrew has also given voice in the Parliament to a number of whistleblowers, for instance over Crown Casino, Hillsong Church and fraud in the export coal industry.

Dr Benjamin Walters is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Democracy & Accountability Program.
He has a research background in moral philosophy and political theory, with a particular focus on theories of free speech, culture war, toleration and justice. Prior to joining the Australia Institute, he worked as a sessional academic and a research project manager. His book – The Future of Free Speech – was published in 2023 by Palgrave Macmillan. Benjamin holds a PhD in Philosophy from Deakin University.

Dr Richard Denniss, Executive Director of the Australia Institute, is a prominent economist, author and public policy commentator, and a former Assoc Professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU. He is the author of several books including: Econobabble, Curing Affluenza, Dead Right: How Neoliberalism Ate Itself and What Comes Next? and Big: The Role of the State in the Modern Economy


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Verity Lane Market
Sydney Building
50 Northbourne Ave
Canberra, ACT 2601


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