With the recent furor over the Labor government's impending compulsory censorship of the internet that will put us in the same league as countries like China, North Korea and Iran it is inevitable that Australians will start pondering how free we actually are as a people. I certainly have been.
Do we have any guarantees of our freedoms or can they be taken away at will by the Australian government?
The reality is that Australian law does not protect fundamental freedoms. There are no guaranteed rights and freedoms in the Australian constitution other than the right to trial by jury, the right to just compensation, the right to freedom of religion, the right to freedom from discrimination against out-of-state residents. That's it!
Australia has no Bill of Rights that guarantees fundamental freedoms such as freedom of speech or freedom of the press.
So how free are we in reality? Is it all really an illusion? Do we simply think we are free because we are told we are? Can the government take away freedoms without consultation or a referendum as they are doing with the impending compulsory censorship of the internet? Could totalitarianism take hold here without much resistance from the Australian populace?
Do we need protection of fundamental freedoms enshrined in law or should we just blindly trust the government to act in our best interests?