Freedom of speech

Jul 9, 2019

Q. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements regarding freedom of speech?

  NET: Agree NET: Disagree Strongly agree Somewhat agree Neither agree nor disagree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree
It is only right that people consider how what they say can affect others 69% 9% 32% 37% 22% 6% 3%
People should not be allowed to argue religious freedom to abuse others 64% 13% 36% 28% 23% 7% 6%
Nowadays, people are unlikely to say what they really think, as they are afraid of how others will react 64% 16% 28% 36% 20% 11% 5%
Employers should not have the right to dictate what their employees say outside work 58% 18% 29% 29% 24% 12% 6%
There should be stronger laws to protect people who express their religious views in public 38% 28% 16% 22% 34% 16% 12%
  • Over two thirds (69%) of Australians agreed that it is only right that people consider how what they say affects others. A large majority agreed that religious freedom should not be used to abuse others (64%).
  • There is some concern for freedom of speech, with 64% agreeing that people are unlikely to say what they really think, as they are afraid of how others will react and 58% agreeing that employers should not have the right to dictate what their employees say outside work.
  • Despite this, just 38% agree that stronger laws are needed to protect people to express their religious views.
NET: Very good/Quite good Labor Coalition Greens NET: Other
It is only right that people consider how what they say can affect others 69% 76% 71% 73% 56%
People should not be allowed to argue religious freedom to abuse others 64% 68% 64% 75% 60%
Nowadays, people are unlikely to say what they really think, as they are afraid of how others will react 64% 61% 74% 47% 72%
Employers should not have the right to dictate what their employees say outside work 58% 59% 62% 55% 62%
There should be stronger laws to protect people who express their religious views in public 38% 38% 44% 29% 35%
  • Less than half (44%) of Coalition voters agree that there should be stronger laws to protect people who express their religious views in public.
  • 74% of Coalition voters agreed that ‘Nowadays, people are unlikely to say what they really think, as they are afraid of how others will react’, compared to 61% of Labor voters and 47% of Greens voters. Agreement with this statement was higher for those aged over 55 (75% agreement) than 35 to 54 year olds (62%) or 18 to 34 year olds (52%).
Q       NET: Agree Gender Age
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+
It is only right that people consider how what they say can affect others 69% 63% 74% 61% 67% 77%
People should not be allowed to argue religious freedom to abuse others 64% 60% 68% 56% 66% 69%
Nowadays, people are unlikely to say what they really think, as they are afraid of how others will react 64% 65% 63% 52% 62% 75%
Employers should not have the right to dictate what their employees say outside work 58% 60% 56% 48% 58% 67%
There should be stronger laws to protect people who express their religious views in public 38% 38% 38% 40% 37% 38%
  • 74% of women agreed that ‘It is only right that people consider how what they say can affect others’, compared to 63% of men. Older people were also more likely to agree with the statement, with 77% of over-55s agreeing compared to 61% of 18 to 34 year olds.
  • Agreement that ‘Employers should not have the right to dictate what their employees say outside work’ was higher for those over 55 (67%) than those than those between 35 and 54 (58%) or between 18 and 34 (48%).

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