Intelligence Squared: Freedom of Speech is Over-Rated
Too often, the big issues feel ill-served by parliamentary question time or the 24-hour news cycle. Big issues and bigger ideas deserve informed and passionate consideration. Beyond the soundbites, beyond the sloganeering, beyond the posturing, there’s the debate. In this Intelligence Squared Debate, held at Melbourne Town Hall, our panellists argue for and against the proposition that ‘Freedom of Speech is Over-Rated’.
Professor Marcia Langton AM holds the Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne.
Catherine Deveny has been a comedian, writer and professional speaker for 23 years.
She’s the author of seven books and over 1,000 columns for the Age newspaper, and is an ABC regular. She has appeared on Q&A five times — sitting next to John Elliott, Tony Abbott, Corey Bernardi, Peter Dutton and Archbishop Peter Jensen.
Julian Burnside is a Melbourne barrister. He joined the Bar in 1976 and took silk in 1989. He specialises in commercial litigation, and has acted in many very contentious cases - the MUA Waterfront dispute; the Cash-for-Comment enquiry; cases for Alan Bond and Rose Porteous - but has become known for his human rights work and has acted pro bono in many refugee cases.
He is an outspoken opponent of the mistreatment of people who come to Australia seeking protection from persecution. His latest book is Watching Out: Reflections on Justice and Injustice (Scribe).
Gretel Killeen is a writer, performer, voice artist and journalist. She is currently completing her directorial feature film debut.
Michael Gawenda is a former editor in chief of The Age. He is a Walkley Award winning journalist, columnist and former foreign correspondent.
Arnold Zable is a highly acclaimed novelist, storyteller and human rights advocate. His works include Scraps of Heaven, Violin Lessons, The Fighter, which was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and a New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award, and his most recent work The Watermill. Zable lives in Melbourne.