Protection for academics who speak-up

The government intends to amend higher education legislation covering academic freedom

Education Minister Dan Tehan wants all universities to update their free speech-protections to conform to Mr French’s language (CMM December 2). The government also proposes amending the Higher Education Support Act.

The amendment would replace “free intellectual inquiry” with “freedom of speech and academic freedom” and expand what is covered by deleting, “free intellectual inquiry in relation to learning, teaching and research” and adding “freedom of speech and academic freedom.”

There is also a seven-point definition of academic freedom which includes,

“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,” and;

the freedom of academic staff to participate in professional or representative academic bodies.”

What like university senates? CMM wonders

In combination, these appear to protect academics who speak out against university managements.

The amendments are out for consultation until February 24.