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Author Topic: Inquiry into Free Speech at Universities  (Read 71 times)   

Mary-Jane

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Inquiry into Free Speech at Universities
« on: November 14, 2018, 02:49:38 PM »
Former High Court chief Robert French to lead inquiry into free speech on campus

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Editor's Note:
Bettina Arndt remains one of Australia's most respected & "trusted around the water cooler" Clinical Psychologists in spite of the recent smear campaigns & violent protests against Democracy & Free Speech conducted by Communist Student Unions & Paid Protesters!

From: Bettina Arndt 14 November 2018
Follow @thebettinaarndt on Twitter.

Delighted to see my Campus Tour has prompted an inquiry into free speech on university campuses. From the SMH today: “The review was sparked after protesters targeted a Sydney University Liberal Club event featuring author Bettina Arndt, who dismisses claims of a "rape crisis" on campuses as a feminist myth.”

The Morrison government has asked former High Court chief justice Robert French to lead the review into free speech amid concerns about left-wing activists shutting down discussion of issues they find offensive. Mr French, who is chancellor of the University of Western Australia, has been tasked with developing a framework akin to the Chicago principles on free expression, adopted by dozens of universities in the United States, and to investigate "realistic and practical options" for managing areas of conflict.

Just after La Trobe University tried to ban me speaking on campus in September, French gave a speech in Darwin’s parliament house where he warned universities face the risk of legislative intervention unless they provide a robust defence of free speech. Mr French said the threshold test for restricting speech on campus should not be the feelings of others and should be invoked only for matters that amounted to a breach of the law. Mr French stated that the public debate in Australia and elsewhere about protest action by academics and student groups was viewed by some as “a worrying intolerance for the expression at universities of views which some consider harmful”.

The SMH quoted Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan who has expressed concern about left-wing protests shutting down events on campus, and has advocated new policies to force protesters to pay for security at functions they disrupt. "We must ensure our universities are places that protect all free speech, even where what is being said may be unpopular or challenging," Mr Tehan said.

"The best university education is one where students are taught to think for themselves, and protecting freedom of speech is how to guarantee that."


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Senator James Paterson

Thank you Dan Tehan for responding to the serious concerns I and others have raised about the state of free speech on campus. Robert French is a fine choice to lead this vital review to ensure our universities are places where free and open debate can still take place


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Former High Court chief Robert French to lead inquiry into free speech on campus

The Morrison government has tapped former High Court chief justice Robert French to lead an inquiry into free speech on university campuses amid its concerns about the influence of left-wing activists.

Mr French, who is chancellor of the University of Western Australia, has been tasked with developing a framework akin to the Chicago principles on free expression, adopted by dozens of universities in the United States, and to investigate "realistic and practical options" for managing areas of conflict.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has already expressed concern about left-wing protests shutting down events on campus, and has advocated new policies to force protesters to pay for security at functions they disrupt.

"We must ensure our universities are places that protect all free speech, even where what is being said may be unpopular or challenging," Mr Tehan said.

"The best university education is one where students are taught to think for themselves, and protecting freedom of speech is how to guarantee that."

But some vice-chancellors view the push as redundant given their universities' existing policies to protect academic freedom and free expression.

Australian National University vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said Mr French was a "good choice" to lead the review, but questioned whether it was needed.

"I expect the status quo to be retained - ANU, at least, is a place which welcomes discussions on issues made in good faith by our staff, students and invited experts," he told Fairfax Media.

"I believe the same is true at almost all universities across Australia."

The terms of reference give Mr French the scope to make recommendations that extend beyond academic freedom and go to the "social environment" of the university, such as on-campus events hosted by student groups.

The review was sparked after protesters targeted a Sydney University Liberal Club event featuring author Bettina Arndt, who dismisses claims of a "rape crisis" on campuses as a feminist myth.

The club was charged $475 for security at the event - though this was covered by crowd funding organised by Arndt and a cheque from Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger.

Mr French said that when developing a model code of conduct, he would respect "the legitimate institutional autonomy of Australian universities", many of which already have their own policies on freedom of speech and other issues.

Mr French unsuccessfully ran for the seat of Fremantle as a Liberal against Labor's Kim Beazley Snr. Later he developed a reputation as a socially progressive, small-l liberal judge, and was appointed to the nation's top legal job by Kevin Rudd in 2008.

As a Federal Court judge, Mr French struck down a NSW law against protesters "annoying" pilgrims to the 2008 World Youth Day in Sydney. But he also upheld the Howard government's 2001 move to block refugees rescued by the Tampa from entering Australia.

Last month Mr French gave a speech at Charles Darwin University on freedom of speech in universities, saying there should only be restrictions in cases where there might be a breach of the law.

Universities would do well to "maintain a robust culture of open speech and discussion even though it may involve people hearing views that they find offensive or hurtful", Mr French said.

The free speech cause was one of the first issues Mr Tehan raised when he met vice-chancellors after taking on the education portfolio from Simon Birmingham.

On Monday, Fairfax Media reported Group of Eight universities believed the free speech push was part of a wide-ranging "assault" by the Morrison government, which also included cuts to research funding, the freeze on domestic student places and a planned tax on enrolments.

The government would not say how much Mr French will be paid.

Definition of Hats aka "Conflict of Interest" Statement: Mary-Jane is Editor of Perth Gay News, The Media Annuncio of the Perth Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence of the Abbey of the Black Swan & Editor @ HIV Institute of WA.

#Twitter @AbbeyBlackSwan1

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Inquiry into Free Speech at Universities
« on: November 14, 2018, 02:49:38 PM »