The Fourth Annual SA John William Perry AO QC Oration was hosted by the South Australian Chapter of the Hellenic Australian Lawyers Association (HAL), in association with Leventis Lawyers, and Serafino Wines, on Friday 24 August 2018 at The Adelaide Pavillion in Veale Gardens, South Terrace, Adelaide.

The Perry Oration is an annual dinner and oration hosted by HAL to celebrate the life and contribution of the late Honourable Justice Perry, who served as a judge of the Supreme Court for 19 years.

Approximately 150 guests enjoyed three courses of contemporary Greek cuisine paired with McLaren Vale wines kindly supplied by Serafino, and accompanied by traditional live Greek music.

Attendees included the Honourable Justice Keane of the High Court of Australia, the Honourable Chief Justice Kourakis, the national patron of HAL, judges of the Federal, Supreme, and District Courts, current and former Ministers of Parliament, and members of the profession.

Keynote speaker, Keane J, delivered a thought provoking speech entitled “Socrates and the Athenians: Gadflys and Freedoms of Speech and Association“.

His Honour traced the complex tensions that exist between the right to freedom of speech and association, and the countervailing considerations to delimit those freedoms in the interests of the community as a whole.

His Honour drew as an exemplar of the social and intellectual gadfly the trial of Socrates in 399BC held to determine his guilt of two charges namely asebeia (impiety) against the pantheon of Athens, and corruption of the youth, by his failing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledged and the introduction of new deities.

Socrates’ entirely peaceful conduct was contrasted with that in Snyder v Phelps 562 US 443 (2011) whereby the Supreme Court of the United States of America protected the content of placards displayed by self-proclaimed gadflies at the funeral of a marine which on the basis that, even though outrageous, they were unable to found liability in tort in view of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The basis of that decision was then contrasted with the decision of the High Court in Coleman v Power (2004) 220 CLR 1, in which gadfly Mr Coleman had handed out flyers accompanied by “insulting words” alleging corruption in the Queensland Police Force, and an analysis of the bases for different results in similar cases in Australia.

The HAL Committee also reported on the success of the 2018 HAL International Conference held in Rhodes, Greece, in July 2018, and announced that a further conference is planned for Rhodes, Greece in 2020.

Louis Leventis
Chairperson of HAL, South Australia

Papers from the Event

The Hon. Justice Patrick Keane AC, High Court of Australia – the 2018 John William Perry AO QC Oration for the SA Chapter of HAL: “Socrates and the Athenians: Gadflys and Freedoms of Speech and Association“, 24 August 2018.

Pictures from the Event


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