Free Speech Union's Podcast

Free Speech Union

The official podcast of the Free Speech Union. Focused on protecting and promoting freedom of expression in New Zealand, the Free Speech Union Podcast hosts interviews with international and local guests discussing the importance of free speech in a free and open

All Episodes

When award-winning Journalist Rachel Stewart had her firearms taken off her over for a joke-tweet, New Zealand was given a chilling taste of how proposed Hate Speech laws will be misused by activists. Rachel speaks to Free Speech Union spokesperson Dane Giraud about the incident, and her getting her guns back (a fact unforgivably underreported), along with today's "war on words", the media's ignorance towards rural New Zealand, and what it feels like to be one of the "canceled". Support the show (

Nov 29

1 hr 4 min

What did Karl Marx really think of Free Speech, and what does this say about the new censorious Left? Tune in for a reading (by Dane Giraud) of a recent piece penned by Free Speech Union member Daphna Whitmore that lays out the traditional Left-wing case for Free Speech and why Marx would not be "team woke!"  "The woke... view the working class as meek and defenseless, not a force that could change society. This patronizing soft bigotry couldn’t be further from Karl Marx’s view of the unified working class as the agent of change with enormous latent power" Support the show (

Nov 23

10 min 49 sec

Is academic freedom in Aotearoa in peril? On this emergency episode of the Free Speech Union podcast, spokesperson Jonathan Ayling sits down with Professors Kendall Clements and Garth Cooper and who co-authored the infamous Listener article several months ago, which claimed Matauranga Maori and science are not the same thing They are now facing the fury of an offended academy, and an investigation has been launched to remove Prof. Cooper from his fellowship with the Royal Society of New Zealand. Support the show (

Nov 20

34 min 53 sec

Comments made to the media about council staff have landed Michael Laws - Otago Regional Council deputy chairman and former Whanganui Mayor -  in hot water.The code of conduct complaint was lodged by council chief executive Sarah Gardner on August 16. But Laws is fighting back with claims that codes of conduct, throughout the entire country, are a blight on local democracy as they are empowering chief executives to silence critics and dodge accountability. Michael talks us through the specifics of his case and lays out just how corrupt council's codes of conduct are. Get yourself up to speed in this quick but informative episode, because taking on codes of conduct is shaping up to be another major fight for the Free Speech Union Support the show (

Nov 18

25 min 4 sec

Is "Word Policing" consistent with Free Speech principles? Free Speech Union Spokesperson Dane Giraud speaks to Auckland-based solicitor and Spectator columnist Juliet Moses about her recent piece (available online: that criticized a high profile protester's invoking of the Holocaust in opposition to Dave Chappelle's Netflix stand-up special "The Closer".  Dane and Juliet also wrestle with separating art from questionable artists and explore why so many Jews are front and center in the current pushback against wokeism and the current anti-speech movement. Join today Support the show (

Nov 15

52 min 6 sec

History may be brimming with battlegrounds, but the discipline has long been one itself. Propagandists both of yesteryear and today have tried to subvert it for ideological reasons which is why today's guest, Robert Tombs, Emeritus Professor of French History, Cambridge, and a Fellow of St John’s College, helped found "History Reclaimed", an initiative dedicated to clawing back the pursuit from bad-faith actors. Robert Tombs is joined by leading New Zealand Historian Prof. Paul Moon and Dr. David Cumin to discuss "History Reclaimed" and the general state of academic freedoms in the West today. www.fsu/join Support the show (

Oct 21

47 min 59 sec

Join us for an interview with author, journalist, gay-rights activist, and prominent free speech advocate, Jonathan Rauch. Originally recorded as a Free Speech Union members-only event, we now offer the wider New Zealand public an opportunity to listen to an audio version of the full, rousing interview. Free Speech Union Council Member, Dr. David Cumin moderates drawing from Rauch’s seminal book in support of Free Speech "Kindly Inquisitors". Support the show (

Oct 14

1 hr 1 min

New Plymouth District Councillor Anneka Carlson was sharply criticized after posting a 13-minute video to her personal Facebook page in which she covered topics including vaccine efficacy and human rights. Accused of being anti-vax the council resisted calls to take action against Carlson, but the incident did highlight how ready many people are to leap on anyone asking questions about the COVID response. Will demonizing and silencing critics work, however? Or does it risk tipping the undecided into the anti-vax camp? Rachel Poulain puts this question to Anneka Carlson and gets her side of the story as to what motivated the post, the misrepresentations she had to endure, and why allowing for the concerns of the hesitant is likely to be far more beneficial in the long run to the overall vaccine program. Join today Support the show (

Oct 7

36 min 32 sec

Free Speech Union spokesperson Dane Giraud interviews veteran journalist Ian Sinclair (most famous for a lengthy stint on staple investigative show "Sunday"). The discussion ranges from Ian's encounter with real fascism in Franco's Spain that inspired his move into hard-hitting journalism, the prevalence of opinion pieces today and whether they harm the current media landscape, and the potentially troubling implications of the new 55 million dollar media fund. Join us today at www.fsu/join Support the show (

Oct 4

45 min 12 sec

Join us for the podcast version of a live discussion (recorded on the 27th of Sept)  with Free Speech Union Council Member, Stephen Franks, and prominent lawyers Graeme Edgeler and Daniel Kalderimis as they consider the free speech implications of court order name suppression, and whether such orders place an unacceptable limit on free speech  Support the show (

Sep 28

1 hr 4 min

Free Speech Union spokesperson Jordan Williams talks with "Speak Up For Women" co-founder Beth Johnson about the women's rights group's recent stoush with NZME. The media juggernaut canceled one of their advertisements after complaints from a handful of activists despite the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) having already cleared the ad after it attracted criticism in billboard form. Our support for "SUFW" in this instance prompted pushback even from some of our supporters, as NZME is a private company. Get up to speed with this special report on the ideological takeover of our media, and hear why our defense of "SUFW" against the privately-owned NZME was so integral to the wider Free Speech battle. Support the show (

Sep 21

25 min 54 sec

In this episode of the Free Speech Union podcast, Free Speech Union Council Member Stephen Franks interviews prominent free speech activist and legal academic, Nadine Strossen. Ms. Strossen was the first female president of the American Civil Liberties Union, and sat down for a live discussion with Free Speech Union members. Support the show (

Sep 21

36 min 53 sec

Free Speech Union spokesperson Rahera Poulain speaks with economist Ananish Chaudhuri about the importance of Free Speech and the troubling lack of criticism from the media and the opposition to the mounting examples of government overreach we've seen throughout the pandemic response. A thought-provoking interview with a world-renowned mind. Enjoy and if you haven't already join the Free Speech Union today at www.fsu/join  Support the show (

Sep 12

47 min 31 sec

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Sep 10

35 min 26 sec

The Conversion Therapy Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill is certain to impinge on New Zealander's freedom of expression and needs amendments.  Listen here to an unabridged version of the Free Speech Union's submission on the Bill that will step you through our very specific Free Speech concerns and their potentially devastating implications  Support the show (

Sep 8

14 min 22 sec

Free Speech Union spokesperson Rachel Poulain speaks with Anna Rippon and Dr. Michael Morris of the New Zealand chapter of vegan group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), a “global grassroots network of animal rights activists”. Anna and Dr. Morris discuss why they don’t support the proposed hate speech laws (in spite of the abuse they commonly receive as a minority political group challenging the mainstream), the many misconceptions about veganism, and present the potentially “devastating” implications of the Government’s hate speech proposals could have for animal rights (and by extension all) activism.  Read DxE’s submission against the proposed 'hate speech' laws here:"And if you're not a member already join the Free Speech Union today! join  Support the show (

Aug 30

31 min 50 sec

For the Free Speech Unions first Speakeasy webinar (presented on the 22nd of July) we sat down with Kathleen Stock author and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex. Kathleen has been aggressively targeted by the outrage mob for her insistence that the relationship between sex and gender can never be “beyond debate”. She has become a figurehead for the pushback against the censorious approach of organisations like "Stonewall", in which everyday language and ordinary people’s understanding of what men and women are have been declared offensive, bigoted or discriminatory.  Kathleen draws on the analysis set out in her new book, Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism, to take us through the reasons why this issue has become so controversial, not just amongst activists and intellectuals but across our institutions and our political and cultural life, leading to the extraordinary denunciation of JK Rowling and others. Throughout, Kathleen has exemplified the spirit of good faith debate and has actively defended the free speech of others. Last year she was awarded an OBE in recognition of her contribution to higher education.In this audio version of the webinar Kathleen speaks with Free Speech Union member Daphna Whitmore (Speak Up For Women) Support the show (

Aug 5

37 min 25 sec

Imam Mustenser Qamar of the Wellington Ahmadiyya Muslim Community returns to the podcast to discuss alternative approaches to fighting racism and discrimination with the Free Speech Union's Dane Giraud. Imam Mustenser also discusses his attendance at a recent Ministry of Justice hui on the proposed 'Hate Speech' laws and his concerns for religious freedoms should the laws as presented be passed. Imam and Dane also discuss how 'Hate Speech' laws could potentially making dialogue and the educational initiatives the Imam is involved in harder by making people with hostile views on minority groups less prepared to risk conversation. Make sure you share this episode on all your networks, become a member at and complete a submission in what is now the final week at Support the show (

Jul 31

1 hr 2 min

Free Speech Union spokesperson Dane Giraud speaks with political organiser and legend of the New Zealand Union movement (as well as new FSU member) Matt McCarten. In a candid and wide-ranging discussion Matt talks about the centrality of Free Speech to traditional Left-wing politics and societal progress, why we should reject any talk of Free Speech being a Left-Right issue, and how shutting down debate ultimately serves the neoliberal status quo.  A powerful and informative conversation with a lot of important reminders that it is Free Speech supporters who truly stand on the side of fairness and progress. Do make sure you spread the message by sharing this episode with all your networks, and if you haven't already, make your submission (in under 3 mins) against proposed 'Hate Speech' laws at Support the show (

Jul 25

44 min 4 sec

Absorb some of the most powerful arguments against the Government's proposed 'Hate Speech' laws with this spirited reading of the Free Speech Union's Public submission. And make sure to make your own submission (in well under 5 minutes) using the website because you have a right to be heard. Support the show (

Jul 22

33 min 4 sec

Guest host Ani O'Brien speaks to renowned New Zealand Historian Paul Moon about navigating through the minefields of this contentious academic field, the health of free speech within our universities, and the challenge of critical theory and what makes it is so dangerous for the advancement of fact-based research.  A great and far-ranging discussion with one of New Zealand's greatest minds. Enjoy! But not before supporting our petition at  Support the show (

Jul 19

44 min 21 sec

The Free Speech Union's Dr. David Cumin and Dane Giraud dig into the six proposals being offered up as the government's new hate speech laws. And they are truly frightening! An in-depth episode that shines a light on numerous troubling aspects of what is currently being tabled, we also analyze Justice Minister Kris Faafoi's less-than-assuring interview with Tova O'Brien in which he couldn't tell us if millennials wouldn't be imprisoned for hating on boomers! Support the show (

Jun 27

50 min 53 sec

Dane Giraud speaks to spokeswoman for 'Speak Up For Women' Daphna Kaye Whitmore about her groups stunning success in the High Court last week against Auckland and Palmerston North city councils. The rulings are a major accomplishment both for 'SUFW' and the 'Free Speech Union' who supported the group through their battle. Is the tide turning? Ideologically captured councils will now have to think twice about breaching the bill of rights and de-platforming groups that don't conform to woke culture. Listen to an episode that's all good news, and if you're not a member of the 'Free Speech Union' join today! join Support the show (

Jun 27

23 min 17 sec

Beth Johnson, a spokeswoman for women's rights group 'Speak Up For Women', returns after a short two weeks with a big announcement: after a series of unjustified and unlawful cancellations from various council venues for the crime of wanting to discuss a bill currently before parliament, 'SUFW' with the support of the 'Free Speech Union', will be heading to the courts in defense of our bill of rights. You are a part of this story! The silencing of one voice is potentially the silencing of all voices including your own. But there is hope: You can be a part of the solution! Tune in and learn how you can directly support 'SUFW' and the Free Speech Union's fight for our free speech rights Support the show (

Jun 21

26 min 48 sec

Dr. David Cumin interviews Beth Johnson of 'Speak Up For Women', a women's rights advocacy group that has had several public talks canceled by city councils over the past few weeks. It seems our councils still have no issue breaching the bill of rights and discriminating against certain interest groups, despite the 'Free Speech Union' having recently received a court ruling that councils must uphold freedom of expression. A chilling interview, but also a serious call to action. Remember to share this episode and if you are not already a member join the 'FSU' today. the show (

Jun 7

27 min

Patrick Corish interviews British journalist and founder of the Free Speech Union UK, Toby Young. In a wide-ranging conversation, Young discusses the desperate need for, and scope of the Union he established in early 2020, along with some of their early wins. A sister organization to the NZ Free Speech Union, this episode also serves as a helpful primer for the support we too will offer in the fight for Free Speech in New Zealand. Join today @   Support the show (

Jun 1

30 min 14 sec

Jordan Williams, Stephen Franks and Patrick Corish discuss the Court of Appeal judgement, released this morning. Support the show (

Apr 30

27 min 25 sec

Last week you heard from our panel of experts on the big ideas surrounding the recent advances made by big tech companies into their new role of arbiters of acceptable speech. This week, we're bringing you the voice of one of those people swept up in the hysteria over the far-right.Former ACT candidate Stephen Berry talks us through his being permanently banned by Twitter in the platform's recent political purge. Support the show (

Jan 19

22 min 4 sec

In the wake of the Capitol Hill riot on the 6th of January, American tech companies removed Donald Trump from a number of the most globally popular social media sites. In the following days thousands of other accounts were suspended or banned, with the fallout reaching to a number of mostly right wing New Zealand accounts.But is this really a threat to free speech? What are the legal or political ramifications? And what can New Zealanders even do about it?We have brought together a panel of free speech experts to get to the heart of this issue, including Stephen Franks, Liam Hehír, Ani O'Brian, and Damian Grant. Support the show (

Jan 15

1 hr 2 min

Free Speech Coalition spokesperson Stephen Franks sat down for a conversation with New Zealand's Chief Censor David Shanks. Stephen and David discussed the classification of the manifesto, the role the censor has in protecting children, censorship in the digital age and the value war-time reporting has in communicating the horrors of war.Support the show (

Oct 2020

28 min 58 sec

Don Brash has been an outspoken advocate for free speech, democracy and open dialogue. In this speech, Mr Brash takes an in-depth look at the state of free speech in New Zealand, noting that while there have been a number of instances where the speech of individuals has been silenced, the voices in defence of this foundational principle are increasingly gaining prominence.  This is the recoding of a speech given by Don Brash, given to the Shalom Students Association on the 9th of September, and the Q&A which followed. Thank you to the Shalom Students Association and Don Brash for continuing to uphold the values of free and frank discussion on difficult issues. Support the show (

Sep 2020

52 min 21 sec

In this episode of the Free Speech Coalition podcast, Patrick Corish interviews Victoria University of Wellington Senior Lecturer of Classical Studies James Kierstead. Dr Kierstead gives a unique perspective on free speech in ancient Greece and talks about his research work on diversity of thought in academia. They also tackle the question classical students often wonder: was Socrates an assh*le? Support the show (

Aug 2020

50 min 38 sec

In this short think piece, Dane Giraud laments the trend of culturally shallow and naive attacks on comedy and creativity, and how it all seems reminiscent of every other attempt by authority figures to ban people from seeing works they personally dislike. Support the show (

Aug 2020

5 min 14 sec

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has never shied away from robust speech, so when he sat down on the FSC Podcast we wanted to get to the bottom of his position on the line between free speech and hate speech, what should be done about Universities which don't uphold their duty to academic freedom, and where Andrew Little's hate speech legislation has gotten to.Support the show (

Aug 2020

30 min 30 sec

Elected officials should not have the power to choose who can speak in our public spaces. And yet, that will be the result if the High Court's decision in the Free Speech Coalition's case against Regional Facilities Auckland is not overturned this week. To help us understand the stakes at play, and the significance of this case, Patrick Corish sat down with renowned public law expert, and long time FSC supporter, Stephen Franks for a recap of the High Court decision and an explanation of the arguments this time around.The hearing will take place on the 4th and 5th of August at the Auckland High Court building. The public gallery will be open if you want to show your support, or witness the hearing first hand. Support the show (

Jul 2020

26 min 6 sec

A few weeks ago, Massey University lecturer Dr Steve Elers’s weekly column in the Manawatu-Standard sparked calls for disciplinary procedures to be invoked against him and an article by the Vice Chancellor qualifying Massey’s commitment to academic freedom. Dr Elers agreed to talk us through this most recent example of Massey University's intolerance of academic freedom.Links:- Dr Elers's final Stuff article- Vice Chancellor's response article- The Harper's LetterSupport the show (

Jul 2020

26 min 25 sec

In preparation for the Interfaith Panel on Free Speech, Patrick sat down with Imam Mustenser Qamar to discuss the position on free speech within Islam. A member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Imam Mustenser has a unique perspective on the value which free speech has to members of a minority community. Hear more from Imam Mustenser at the Perspectives on Free Speech Panel at 6pm on Wednesday the 22nd July, held at VUW's Rutherford House and hosted by the Shalom Students' Association . More details here.Show Notes:- Pakistan's Ordinance XX.Support the show (

Jul 2020

41 min 47 sec

In a spirited conversation with Dane Giraud, Maori broadcaster and commentator Ward Kamo discusses Maori perspectives on Free Speech and how banning offensive speech denies Maori the opportunity to "set the record straight."Ward Kamo is a broadcaster (formerly of Native Affairs), a social and political commentator and popular MC who has held senior management roles for Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation and the Ngati Mutunga o Wharekauri iwi Trust. Support the show (

Jul 2020

29 min 49 sec

This is the audio version of a blog post which you can find here. Support the show (

Jul 2020

4 min 34 sec

On this episode, Dane is joined by editor of Redline blog, Daphna Whitmore. Together they transcend the Left/Right divide and embark on an understanding of the free speech implications of issues like the Twitter mob, the Government's proposed emergency police powers, and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Support the show (

May 2020

51 min 39 sec

Dr Steve Elers is a professor of communications and media at Massey University, who's article criticising the Prime Minister attracted corrections from the PM's office. Patrick Corish sat down with Dr Elers for this virtual episode of FSC Podcast, to discuss what this means for the media in the wake of the $50 million bailout package for news sites. You can read the article in question here, and find his column for Stuff here.Support the show (

May 2020

40 min 45 sec

Dane Giraud interviews David Farrar on Govt. bans on some media as part of level 4 COVID-19 response, and why it's an important matter of free speech.Support the show (

Mar 2020

9 min 57 sec

In this special live episode, join Free Speech Coalition spokesperson Jordan Williams as he hosts Ani O'Brien of Speak Up 4 Women and Stuff columnist Damien Grant for a debate on all things free speech, from Twitter, transgender politics, abortion clinic 'safe zones', pornography, and the ban on the Christchurch shooter's manifesto and video.You can find Ani and Damien on Twitter at @aniobrien and @damienmgrant.Support the show (

Mar 2020

1 hr 5 min

This week, Patrick talks with Georgina Blackmore about the upcoming Abortion Legalisation Bill, in particular the “safe areas” which the bill would establish to prevent protest in the vicinity of abortion clinics, and the state of protest rights globally. Georgina has been at the forefront of a number of protest groups, and is an experienced and skilled activist. With the (accidental) passing of the SOP making these "safe zones" ineffective, free speech activists can breathe a sigh of relief, however the discussion of the international implementation of these "safe zones" is still fascinating.This episode was recorded on 3 March 2020.Support the show (

Mar 2020

43 min 42 sec

This is the first part in a two part discussion with world renowned moral philosopher and psychologist James Flynn. Professor Flynn has been at the forefront of the discussion on intelligence, race and IQ, bringing this together with a deep grasp of moral and political philosophy.In this episode Professor Flynn covers his research and study on intelligence and its application to politics, and the current state of universities.Support the show (

Feb 2020

40 min 7 sec

ACT leader David Seymour has picked up the free speech batten and is looking at the likes of Massey University with a Parliamentary Members Bill that would require taxpayer funded institutions to respect free speech on campus.Patrick Corish sits down with David to discuss his Bill.Support the show (

Dec 2019

23 min 42 sec

Dr Michael Johnston is an Associate Dean of Education at Victoria University of Wellington. His teaching focuses on the educational assessment and in particular, the positive and negative impacts on pedagogy and curriculum. Dr Johnston has launched a campaign calling for New Zealand's universities to adopt the University of Chicago's statement on free speech, and he sits down with Patrick to discuss the campaign and how educational institutions do their students a disservice by trying to 'protect' them from controversial or offensive ideas or speakers.The Chicago principles are available here: Jonston's letter to VUW's Vice-Chancellor is available here: the show (

Dec 2019

32 min 11 sec

Helen Pluckrose is an academic specialising in postmodern thought. She has become known mainly by her participation in the Sokal Squared - Grievance Studies Affair where she, James Lindsay, and Boghassian manufactured fake academic articles to illustrate how easily it publish in social science journals. Helen shares her insights into the postmodern school of thought and its natural aversion towards free speech.Support the show (


Nov 2019

40 min 52 sec

Patrick Corish sits down with the deputy leader of the New Conservative Party of New Zealand, Elliot Ikelei. Patrick and Elliot discuss the New Conservative's views on free speech, the role of parents in protecting children from online harm and Elliot's debate on free speech with Dr Don Brash at Auckland University.Support the show (

Oct 2019

41 min 20 sec

Patrick sits down with Dr Melissa Derby, a lecturer of history at Auckland University of Technology. On 16 October Massey University cancelled a Feminism 2020 event that Melissa was invited to speak at. Her speech was going to be on the dangers of identity politics and the break down of constructive dialogue between different interest groups.Patrick and Melissa discuss the topic of her speech and the growing issues surrounding public dialogue in which anti-free speech mentality is a root cause.Support the show (

Oct 2019

45 min 35 sec