This article provides an overview of the developments in 2004 regarding the constitutional freedom of political communication. This will be done through a discussion of the cases of Coleman v Power and Mulholland v Australian Electoral Commission. These two cases have confirmed the validity of the general propositions in Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation, regarding the existence of a freedom of political communication implied from the Australian Constitution, and provide the basis for some observations with respect to that implication. In this article an overview is given of the basic principles in Lange, followed by a detailed discussion of relevant parts of the judgments in Coleman and Mulholland. This article ends with analysis of some of the issues raised by the cases.
This article was originally published as Arcioni, E, Developments in Free Speech Law in Australia: Coleman and Mulholland, Federal Law Review, 33, 2005, 1-22. Journal information available here.