Our Freedoms

Freedom of speech and freedom of expression

Freedom of speech is a core Australian value and underpins our democratic system. Freedom of speech means people can say and write what they think, and discuss their ideas with others. For example, people can criticise the government, protest peacefully against government decisions and campaign to change laws, so long as at all times they are still obeying Australian laws.

Freedom of expression means people can express their views, including through art, film, music and literature. People are free to meet in public or private places for social or political discussion.

At all times, even while engaging in freedom of speech and freedom of expression, the laws of Australia must be obeyed. We must also respect other people’s freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

Freedom of association

Freedom of association is the right to form and join associations to pursue common goals. For example, in Australia people are free to join any legal organisation, such as a political party, trade union, religious, cultural or social group. People can also decide not to join, and cannot be forced into doing so.

Australians can gather with others to protest against a government action or an organisation. At all times, however, the laws of Australia must be obeyed. This means that such gatherings must be peaceful, and must not injure any person or damage property.

Freedom of religion

Australia has a Judaeo-Christian heritage, and many Australians describe themselves as Christians, but there are people in Australia from all the large religions. Australia has public holidays on Christian days such as Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.

The government and the law treat all citizens equally, whatever their religion or beliefs. The government in Australia is secular, which means it operates separately from churches or other religious entities. Australia has no official national religion. People in Australia are free to follow any religion they choose. They may also not choose to follow a religion.

At all times, even while engaging in religious practices, the laws of Australia must be obeyed. Where there is a conflict between an Australian law and a religious practice, Australian law prevails.

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Part 1 - Australia and its people

» Australia's states and territories
» Important days for Australians
» Australia's flags and symbols

Part 2 - Australia's democratic beliefs, rights and liberties

» Our democratic beliefs
» Our freedoms
» Our equalities
» Responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship
» Participating in Australian society

Part 3 - Government and the law in Australia

» How do I have my say?
» How did we establish our system of government?
» How is the power of government controlled?
» Who is Australia's Head of State?
» Who are some of Australia's leaders?
» How is Australia Governed?
» What do the three levels of government do?
» What role do political parties play in the way Australia is governed?
» How is the Australian Government formed?
» How are laws made?
» How are laws enforced?
» Criminal offences in Australia

Part 4 - Australian values

» Our values
» Our community

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