Speakers' Corner

Speakers Corner logo

Last year we introduced a brand-new space for speakers to be heard in Hobart, where our community can celebrate free speech and inspire others.

Open-air public speaking is an opportunity to start conversations, stimulate public debate, present creativity and share our experiences.

Being able to speak freely is a right we are fortunate to have and the City of Hobart encourages both speakers and listeners to engage respectfully and with empathy.

The Speakers' Corner Principles

The principles which should inform all Speakers' Corner events are that they should:

  • be attractive and accessible to all
  • be strictly non-adversarial and non-partisan
  • provide all participants with an equal opportunity to express their views, within the law, and respect diversity of opinion
  • be conducted calmly and without rancour
  • seek common ground rather than confrontation
  • aim to engage, inform and enrich opinion and, wherever possible, entertain.

Source: Speakers' Corner Trust

Speakers' Corner in Salamanca Plaza ran a six-month trial between the dates of 26 April and 31 October 2021. All community members were encouraged to give their feedback about the trial on our dedicated Your Say page.

#Hobartspeaks program | February - April 2022

As part of Out in the Open, the City of Hobart presented a guest speaker at Speakers' Corner each week, either at lunchtime or at the end of the day.

This program will ran from 23 February to 13 April 2022

#Hobartspeaks event

Speakers

Tamas

Wednesday 23 February | 4.45 - 5.15 pm

Tamas is a traditional Hungarian storyteller. His words make a long term imprint on his listeners. His end goal is not to just tell a great story, but to learn with his listeners about what it means to be human. Learn more on Tamas' website.

Shasta Henry

Wednesday 2 March | 12.30 - 1 pm

For #Hobartspeaks 'Bug Girl' will speak with passion, persuasion and irrefutable knowledge.

Shasta is completing her PhD in Entomology at UTAS, in amongst being an adventure tour guide and hanging out with the Taxidermists at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. This self-confessed PR consultant for insects even has a whole species of Amazonian beetle named after her!

Shasta has convinced many a sceptic that we'll soon be eating insects more that potato chips. You'll learn more from her in 30-minutes than you learnt in all of your years in the school lab.

Mamma Rosa

Wednesday 9 March | 12.30 - 1 pm

Mamma Rosa speaks!

From her soapbox, she wants to share her unique brand of philosophy with those who dare to listen.

Mamma Rosa delivers advice for the young and young at heart, bringing the rowdy gusto of European public square speaking to Salamanca Plaza's Speakers' Corner.

Zoe Kean

Wednesday 16 March | 12.30 - 1 pm

Zoe knows science and how to speak about it!

She proposes: "If we can bring back the Tasmanian Tiger, should we?" and "who are we to decide?"

This, is as ethical a question as it is scientific. You may ask: who or what will teach the Tassie Tiger to behave and survive in the present day? If the genetics of a Dunnart and a Tasmanian Devil were melded, would a Tasmanian Tiger eventually emerge? And should it?

Nadia Azizabadi

Wednesday 23 March | 5 - 5.30 pm

Nadia is an accredited swimming instructor, a player on the National Tasmanian Women's Underwater Rugby and Hockey teams, scuba dive instructor and scientific diver. She wants to help new migrants become the hero of their yesterday by assisting them to learn water sports and water safety through her From Zero to Hero program.

Nadia could barely swim when she first came to Australia. The deep part of the pool was a nightmare for her, but she trained by herself every day, faced discrimination and spent too much time and money before she discovered the steps toward her goals.

Nadia's mission is to make her program available to everyone who has a desire to explore the underwater world, develop their aquatic skills and take advantage of Tasmania's beautiful beaches.

Ian Johnston

Wednesday 30 March | 12.30 - 1 pm

Ian Johnston is one of the trio that founded the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Still active in the festival, he is undeniably one of the colourful characters of Hobart.

Ian will speak about why he loves Tasmania and suggest pragmatic changes that would greatly benefit both ourselves and future generations.

Rebecca Lyons

Wednesday 6 April | 12.30 - 1 pm

When she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2018, Bec travelled internationally to research body disposal technologies and the larger subjects of death and ceremony. Since then, she has become the president of the Natural Death Advocacy Network and the Australian Home Funeral Alliance.

She is a doula, providing support to people at the end of life. She speaks openly and passionately about a range of normally hushed topics like natural burial, family-led funerals and home-based death care.

For Bec Lyons, Speakers' Corner is the perfect platform to share her contemporary approach to death, and life.

Ari Moore

Wednesday 13 April | 12.30 - 1 pm

Ari Moore is fascinated with atheism; what makes some people believe in deities and gods, and others not? A self-described 'agnostic', she is not convinced that it is even possible for us to know if gods exist or not.

As a PhD candidate at UTAS and student of philosophy for almost a decade, Ari is not setting out to disprove religion. She will speak about the similar emotional needs of believers and non-believers, and how some people find a profound connection with nature.

Ari Moore is a TEDxHobart speaker and the recipient of the 2022 Fulbright Tasmania Scholarship.

Speakers

This space is for people who want to make a public address in a peaceful and lawful manner.

Examples of speeches that can be delivered include:

  • poetry
  • oration
  • creative verse
  • speaking for a cause
  • personal beliefs.

You need to apply for a permit via the online form below, and book in your speaking session by calling 03 6238 2711. You must display your permit during your session, and you must follow the Speakers' Corner terms and conditions(PDF, 691KB).

You may display pamphlets and reading material for listeners. However, you are not permitted to approach people. Listeners can come to you for information and a chat after your session.

Listeners

If listeners are concerned that a speaker is not adhering to the terms and conditions, please contact the City via email coh@hobartcity.com.au or phone 03 6238 2711.

Salamanca Plaza Speakers' Corner

Location: Salamanca Plaza, Hobart

Hours of operation:
Monday to Friday
10 am – 12 pm
30 minute speaking sessions

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There is also a Speakers' Corner at the northern end of Elizabeth Mall.

How to apply

You can apply for a Speakers' Corner - Temporary Permit at any time. The program is still operating under the terms and condition of the trial that took place between 26 April and 31 October 2021 while a report is being prepared that will be presented to the Council. This report will summarise how the trial location was used and received, and any recommendations for changes that were highlighted throughout the consultation period.

By continuing to operate under the trial's terms and conditions it allows the community to continue to use this Speakers' Corner location while the Council decides on the future of this location in the program.

Once a final decision has been made all trial permits will be cancelled and community members will need to apply again under Council approved updated terms and conditions.

Apply online

Please allow four business days for assessment of this application.

FAQs

Overview

What is a Speakers' Corner?

Speakers' Corners are spaces that allow members of the community to participate in civilised public debate and discussion.

Speakers' Corners have long featured in cities across Australia and in other parts of the world as a platform for public free speech, without discrimination or oppression, where interesting and thought-provoking works can be shared to inspire others.

What was the Speakers' Corner 6-month trial?

The City of Hobart Speakers' Corner 6-month trial allows speakers holding a permit from the City of Hobart to use dedicated spaces to make a speech in a peaceful and lawful manner.

The City defines Speakers' Corner as an area where open-air public speaking and creative speech, and oration are allowed.

What happened after the trial is over?

A report is currently being prepared to be presented to the Council. It will summarise how the trial location was used and received, and any recommendations for changes that were highlighted through the consultation period.

Permits

Who can apply for a permit?

All community members are welcome to apply. We encourage all types of speech from poetry, oration, creative verse, speaking for a cause and personal beliefs.

We require all permit holders to be courteous and respectful to all community members and other permit holders by abiding to the 30 minute time limit for speaking.

Also adhering to clause 10 ensuring that the subject matter of the presentation, the manner in which you present your material, and your behaviour and actions do not breach any law, in particular the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (Tas).

Locations and timings

Where are the Speakers' Corner positions?

The Salamanca pedestrian plaza is the preferred area for Speakers' Corner. This location offers the opportunity for speakers to entertain and engage the community and to activate Hobart's lively street culture.

Limited opportunities will continue to be offered for speakers wanting to use the Elizabeth Street Mall for speaking.

Are there any COVID-19 related things to be aware of?

The permit holder has agreed to abide by all COVID-19 physical distancing requirements and/or restrictions set by the Tasmanian Government which are applicable at the time.

It is expected that the permit holder will remind audience members of COVID-19 safety requirements if they gather around the permit holder.

The new location at Salamanca Plaza allows ample room for social distancing, the Elizabeth Street Mall position can become congested partially at peak times.

What times can I speak?

Speaking is permitted in the Salamanca Plaza location between the hours of 10 am and 12 pm on weekdays, Monday to Friday.

Speaking is permitted in the Elizabeth Street Mall location between the hours of 11 am and 12 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Do I need to book in somewhere before I speak?

Yes.

Where can I book my one 30 minute per day allocated speaking slot?

Speakers are required to book their speaking time slot by phoning the City of Hobart customer service centre on 03 6238 2711 during office hours. Bookings may be made up to 1 business day in advance.

Terms and conditions

Who do I contact if I believe a speaker is in breach of the terms and conditions?

If a member of the public believes a speaker has breached these terms and conditions they should lodge a complaint with the City of Hobart via email, telephone or webform.

You can view the Speaker's Corner terms and conditions here(PDF, 691KB).

The City of Hobart may suspend or terminate this permit or amend the terms and restrictions of this permit at any time at the City's absolute discretion.

The permit holder must comply in all respects with the provisions of all Acts of Parliament, Regulations, Rules and By-Laws and all notices, requirements or directions which may be made or given by the City of Hobart or any other authority.

This permit may be suspended or terminated for any breach of the above conditions, and may result in the City of Hobart declining to grant any further permit to the permit holder.

Feedback and further information

Where can I give feedback on the Speakers' Corner 6-month trial?

During the trial a dedicated Your Say Hobart page was available for all members of the Community to give their feedback. The trial period has now closed and we are reviewing all feedback that will be included in a report that will be presented to Council. If you have any questions about the Speakers' Corner 6-month trial please contact the City of Hobart Activation Programs and Tourism Unit on 03 6238 2711 during business hours or coh@hobartcity.com.au.

Let's have a conversation #Hobartspeaks

Who can I contact if I have general questions about the Speakers' Corner 6-month trial?

Please contact the City of Hobart Activation Programs and Tourism Unit on 03 6238 2711 during business hours or coh@hobartcity.com.au.