Freedom of Speech



1. This policy sets out the University’s commitment to freedom of speech.

Scope and operation

2. This policy applies to all members of the University community. This includes:

a. Staff and students
b. Adjunct and other University title holders
c. The University’s governing and decision-making bodies
d. Visitors to the University
e. University student representative bodies
f. University controlled entities.

3. This policy, together with the University of South Australia Statement on Academic Freedom, enacts the principles of the Model Code for the Protection of Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom in Australian Higher Education Providers [Model Code].

4. The associated Public Statement Procedure sets out the rights and responsibilities of members of the University community when making public comment in their field of academic expertise or as private citizens.

5. The Hire of University Facilities Policy enacts principles 6 and 7 of the Model Code which deal with permissions for external visiting speakers and invited visiting speakers to speak on University land and to use University facilities.


6. Not applicable.


7. Council is the approving authority for this policy.

8. The Vice Chancellor is the officer responsible for organisation-wide adherence to this policy.

9. All individuals, entities and bodies to whom this policy applies are expected to comply with this policy and the associated Public Statement Procedure.

Policy Principles

10. Freedom of speech is a paramount value of the University.

11. In accordance with the principles of the Model Code

a. The University is committed to ensuring the freedom of speech of all members of the University community, subject only to limitations imposed by:

i. law;
ii. the reasonable and proportionate regulation of conduct necessary to the discharge of the University’s teaching and research activities;
iii. the right and freedom of others to express themselves and to hear and receive information and opinions;
iv. the reasonable and proportionate regulation of conduct to enable the university to fulfil its duty to foster the wellbeing of students and staff;
v. the reasonable and proportionate regulation of conduct necessary to enable the University to give effect to its legal duties including its duties to visitors to the University.

b. Subject to reasonable and proportionate regulation of the kind referred to in Clause 11a, a person’s lawful speech on the University’s land or in connection with a University activity shall not constitute misconduct nor attract any penalty or other adverse action by reference only to its content; nor shall the freedom of staff to make lawful public comment on any issue in their personal capacities be subject to constraint imposed by reason of their employment by the University.

c. In entering into affiliation, collaborative or contractual arrangements with third parties and in accepting donations from third parties subject to conditions, the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise any restrictions imposed by such arrangements or conditions on the freedom of speech of staff or students subject to such arrangements or conditions.

12. The University will have regard to this Policy in the drafting, review or amendment of its policies and procedures.

Additional Explanatory Information/Definitions

Speech’ extends to all forms of expressive conduct including oral speech and written, artistic, musical and performing works and activity and communication using social media. The word ‘speak’ has a corresponding meaning.


  • Approving Authority: Council
  • Officer Responsible: Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
  • Commencement Date: 3 August 2021
  • Review Date: August 2026
  • History: This policy does not supersede any existing policies.