Free choice and compulsion

The Chief Justice starts to speculate about philosophy with characteristic dry wit. Then comes a classic dodge, if ever there was one, from Mr Tehan QC.

GLEESON CJ: What do you mean by “free choice”?

TEHAN QC: What we mean by “free choice”, your Honour, is a choice unconstrained by any pressure, hope of advantage or benefit or force or coercion or compulsion, a true free choice.

GLEESON CJ: You would be surprised to know that there are places I would rather be than here at the moment and the psychiatrists might explain my presence at the moment by reference to a number of influences or pressures that
produce that consequence, but I thought I was here as a result of a free choice. How is that consistent with your

HAYNE J: Good luck, Mr Tehan.

TEHAN QC: It is always a matter of degree, your Honour.

KIRBY J: I could not think of a better place to be than here.

GLEESON CJ: I am sure that is probably right.

Citation: Tofilau, Marks, Hill & Clarke v The Queen [2007] HCATrans 81