Universities given until the end of the year to adopt the code of freedom of speech

Australia’s Minister of Education Alan Tudge has given universities to enforce freedom of speech provisions until the end of this year and threatens to use the law if they refuse or fail to do so.

“Without freedom of expression, we cannot pursue the truth. Without academic freedom, we cannot create knowledge.” Tudge said In a speech at an Australian University conference in Canberra today.

He then quoted the first Vice-President of the Australian National University, Sir Douglas Copeland, in a letter to Prime Minister Robert Menzies in 1948 (1948).pdf): “Establishing and maintaining academic freedom is more important than the actual research and education conducted within the walls of the university.”

Mr. Tudge was critical that some universities had not yet begun the process of implementing the French model code.

It refers to the code of former High Court Secretary Robert French, who has freedom of speech as one of its core values.

“I hope the model code is fully implemented this year and there is no more excuse. You promised to do this,” he said. “If it becomes clear that a university is unable or unwilling to adopt a model code, I will consider all the options available to the government to enforce it, including the law. there is a possibility.”

George Williams, Vice President of the University of New South Wales, called on the government to include a “free speech law” that grants Australians the legal right to freedom of speech.

“Freedom of speech needs to include the right to say things that people may disagree with and feel uncomfortable.” Williams said The Daily Telegraph. “We recognize that the risk of self-censorship is increasing … it has a chilling effect on people’s behavior.”

The Epoch Times
People Passing By Australian University Signs In Melbourne’s Central Business District, June 10, 2020 (William West / AFP via Getty Images)

Tudge also told university leaders that public universities were initially established with the single purpose of educating Australians.

“For the past few months, I’ve had almost every Vice-President talk about research and international students, but few have told me about their ambitions for Australian students,” he said. ..

He called on the university to start by returning to face-to-face learning and focus on improving the learning experience for Australians.

The speech also covered the government’s agenda on the commercialization of research.

Mr. Tudge said he hopes Australian universities will work with more companies and governments to not only produce “excellent pure research” but also transform research into breakthrough products. ..

Reviews for building closer relationships between Australian universities and industry Announced, Will be led by two university leaders.

The National Higher Education Union (NTEU) called the emphasis on commercialization of Tudge “short-sighted.”

“If the government had taken research and commercialization opportunities seriously, it would have continued to fund additional research with this year’s budget, but this has also been reduced,” said the NTEU President. Allison Burns said..

The union was also disappointed by Tudge, who was unable to cope with the number of jobs lost as a result of COVID-19, and called the university “the greatest crisis ever faced.”