Annual Derek Fielding Memorial: Freedom and Australian Imagination

Australians and Freedom

What is the relationship between Australians and personal freedom?

We like to think of ourselves as anti-elitist and anti-authoritarian. Our literature abounds with self congratulatory paeans to our disrespect for authority. But on the other hand, repeated surveys show that Australians are amongst the easiest people on earth for a government to get to follow new rules.

It has been said that after casting their votes Australians tend to blindly trust politicians to get on with the business of governing. Donald Horne pointed this out in The Lucky Country when he said, ‘The general Australian belief is that it is the government’s job to see that everyone gets a fair go’, and that the state consists of ‘managers doing a job’ who are simultaneously trusted and despised.

Our speaker David Marr has said: “Australians trust authority. Not love, perhaps, but trust. It’s bred in the bone. We call ourselves larrikins, but we leave our leaders to get on with it. Even the leaders we mock.”

Continuing on from these thoughts on 28 August 2018 David Marr will reflect on the fact that

Australians are adept at detecting insincere civil liberties appeals, but not so proactive in demanding liberties as a nation. Why aren’t we demanding a Bill Of Rights or Human Rights Act?

Why are we so afraid of attempts to provide broad protection for our civil liberties.  

DAVID MARR is one of Australia’s most awarded and most influential voices on politics, censorship and media. A trained lawyer and journalist, he has received four Walkley awards and written many books on politics and power.

Supper included, please RSVP dietary requirements to

Date: Tuesday 28 August at 6:00pm

Location: All Saints Convention Centre 330 Ann St, Brisbane

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