The Australian government admits Peter Ridd should never have been sacked for criticizing standards of James Cook University
Great News: In an era of absurd censorship, it’s good to get a win. Thanks to all those who wrote letters and emails, and obviously, thanks to the IPA, the government is insisting that Professors be allowed to decide what professors say, rather than Vice Chancellors. Soon, if fraud should occur at James Cook Uni, people will be able to suggest it gets investigated without getting fired for being “uncollegial.”
As Education Minister Dan Tehan told Sky News this morning:
“[James Cook University] wouldn’t have been able to prosecute Peter Ridd if these laws had of been in place.”
“By defining academic freedom in legislation, Education Minister Dan Tehan is ensuring the dismissal of an academic like Peter Ridd can never happen again,” said Mr Rozner.
To recap Peter Ridds crimes: he said “for your amusement” in an email once. (Illegal satire). He said “ We can no longer rely on our science institutions.” He talked about the replication crisis in science, which was borne out in research, and he spotted duplicated photos that appear to be fraudulent by a JCU researcher who was separately was found guilty of fabricating data in Sweden. JCU have spent something like $2 million fighting for their right to sack Ridd. Not surprisingly in the current environment, JCU staff are frightened to use their emails.
Of professors, there are only a few,
Who dare challenge or doubt peer-review,
Of all topics climatic,
Which is so problematic,
For alarmists who think it taboo.
The legislation still needs to pass the Senate, but this is likely.
Academic freedom means the following:
(a) the freedom of academic staff to teach, discuss, and research and to disseminate and publish the results of their research;
(b) the freedom of academic staff and students to engage in intellectual inquiry, to express their opinions and beliefs, and to contribute to public debate, in relation to their subjects of study and research;
(c) the freedom of academic staff and students to express their opinions in relation to the higher education provider in which they work or are enrolled;
(d) the freedom of academic staff to participate in professional or representative academic bodies;
(e) the freedom of students to participate in student societies and associations;
(f) the autonomy of the higher education provider in relation to the choice of academic courses and offerings, the ways in which they are taught and the choices of research activities and the ways in which they are conducted.
This won’t help Peter Ridd of course. The High Court will decide whether to allow his appeal next February.
High Court to consider the Peter Ridd Case in February
Click to buy the book.
We got some good news today. The High Court has reviewed our documentation and set the date for the hearing to decide if it will hear our full appeal. It will be February next year. The great majority of applications are rejected on the documentation, so we have passed the first hurdle. If we succeed in February, the actual hearing could be many months after that. Go Fund ME.
We got some other very good news on Wednesday with the Commonwealth education Minister Dan Tehan, announcing the introduction of a University Free-Speech bill in parliament. Minister Tehan said “the legal advice that I have is that they [JCU] wouldn’t have been able to prosecute Peter Ridd if these laws had of been in, place.”
Thankyou Minister! I have been told on the grapevine that there has been a lot of lobbying to get this Bill into parliament and I thank the likes Senator Hansen, George Christensen and doubtless many others for their efforts. More information at https://www.facebook.com/Inst.ofPublicAffairs/posts/10160441718078858
Irrespective of whether JCU win in the High Court, they now have a piece of legislation introduced to stop their disgraceful behaviour happening again. Unfortunately, we have to fight on what the law was in 2018. But JCU is now in no doubt about where the Government stands on this issue.
Finally, my book on the Great Barrier Reef, and why it is not as badly damaged as is often claimed, is coming off the printing press (in Victoria). Despite the virus it is available for order through Connor Court Publishing
The book is written for the layman and looks at all the major threats to the reef and the flaws in science quality assurance. The book also has a short section on the legal saga written by Morgan Begg from the IPA. We decided that I was the last person who could write in a detached manner about that.
So it has been a good week. We now wait until February.
Thanks again for supporting the cause. I am getting the feeling it has all been worth it.
Media Release ——————————————————————————————————————-
Date: 28 October 2020
Ensuring freedom of speech and freedom of academic inquiry
Ministers:The Hon Dan Tehan MP Minister for Education
The Morrison Government is taking action to protect freedom of speech and freedom of academic inquiry at Australian universities. Minister for Education Dan Tehan today introduced the Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) Bill 2020 into Parliament to strengthen protections for freedom of speech and academic freedom.
The legislation will bring the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA) into line with the French Model Code, which all universities have agreed to adopt this year.
“Freedom of speech is a core value of Australian universities,” Mr Tehan said. “When universities foster robust inquiry and open debate they advance our collective knowledge and strengthen our society. “As Justice French observed in his review: even a limited number of incidents seen as affecting freedom of speech may have an adverse impact on public perception of the higher education sector.
“Protecting free speech is also an individual responsibility. The test of our commitment to free speech is whether we are willing to tolerate the speech of others, especially those with whom we most disagree.
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October 30, 2020 at 03:03PM