Universities put on notice to respect free speech

Caption: How Australian academics do “tolerance” and “free inquiry” ? yelling and waving money at Jews.

In the midst of recent high-profile freedom of speech controversies on Australian campuses, a former Australian High Court chief justice, Robert French, sounded an ominous warning for the universities fostering a culture of left-wing intolerance. French hinted that campuses might soon face a Constitutional legal challenge.

French is making good on his warning. Quote:

Former High Court chief justice Robert French will conduct a ?review of freedom of speech at universities, in the wake of a ?series of incidents in which contentious debates have been ?stifled on campuses.

The review, to be unveiled today, is a first step by the Morrison government towards holding universities accountable for restrictions that breach a planned national code of freedom of speech on campus. The development of the nation?al code will be the centrepiece of the review.

The government has given Mr French four months to assess the effectiveness of the framework protecting freedom of speech and to develop a code that will be used by the government as a national benchmark for university performance.

The review comes soon after a series of attempts to close down contentious debates at several universities and a warning by Mr French that it was wrong to use ?an extended concept of safety? as an excuse to stifle debate. End of quote.

To be fair, some of Australia?s chancellors seem to be disturbed by the culture of cry-bully intolerance festering on campuses. Quote:

The government?s move follow?s public statements by University of Western Sydney chancellor Peter Shergold and Australian National University chancellor Gareth Evans that universities should be prepared to make tough decisions to protec?t free speech.

Mr Evans, a former Labor foreig?n minister, was concerned about the rise of US-style ?trigger warnings? alerting students they were about to be confronted with information that might hurt their feelings. End of quote.

The government appears to be giving universities a chance to come to their senses. Quote:

The government is not consideri?ng giving the code statutory force but is expected to give it the status of a national declara?tion on freedom of speech that would be used as a benchmark for assessing the practices of the universities?The review?s terms of reference, which extend to freedom of intellectual inquiry, could also lead to greater protection for acade?mics who work in contentious fields.

This could lead to an indepen?dent examination of the policies and practices of James Cook University, which ?dismissed professor Peter Ridd after he questioned academic researc?h on climate change.

According to JCU, Professor Ridd was dismissed because he breached a code of conduct aimed at creating ?a safe and respect?ful? workplace. End of quote.

Naturally, academic troughers are squealing already. Quote:

Universities have questioned the need for the federal government review of campus freedom of speech announced yesterday, saying protections already exist for free expression and intellectual inquiry. End of quote.

The Communist states had democratic elections: everyone was free to vote for the candidate the party selected for them. Universities allow ?free inquiry?, just so long as you limit that freedom to what they allow.

It gets better: Quote:

?These same conclusions would not meet the threshold test of academic inquiry ? informed by evidence and facts.? End of quote.

If universities really valued evidence and facts, they?d dump every women’s studies, gender studies, critical theory and every Marxist academic in their faculties. The Humanities would become ghost towns. Quote:

?Australian universities teach students how to think, not what to think ? and we teach them to ?engage both with ideas they agree with and those they don?t agree with.? End of quote.

The evidence and facts suggest otherwise. A recent review of free speech on Australian campuses gave only one a green light for robust free speech protection.