The court will hear its arguments for intervening
James Cook U is appealing the Federal Court judgement that it was wrong to dismiss Peter Ridd for his criticisms of research at the university. The court found he was protected by academic comment provisions in the applicable JCU enterprise agreement. The National Tertiary Education Union has applied for leave to intervene –the union has long argued that the best free-speech protection for university staff is to have it codified in enterprise agreements.
Justice Rangiah directs the NTEU to present its submission on why it should be allowed to intervene on the enterprise agreement issues in JCU’s appeal by December 20, with a ruling at a date to be fixed. The university is required to respond to any submissions made by Dr Ridd and the union’s draft submission by January 20.
So, the union is in now, but could still be out.
What happens will be watched closely way beyond JCU – there are university managements which would prefer protections for staff to speak out to be in institutions’ codes of contact – rather than in enterprise agreements.