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
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:
- 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.
If listeners are concerned that a speaker is not adhering to the terms and conditions, please contact the City via email email@example.com 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
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.
Please allow four business days for assessment of this application.
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.
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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.