Just in from Bettina:
Delighted to see my Campus Tour has prompted an inquiry into free speech on university campuses. From the Sydney Morning Herald 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.”
If everyone who read this gave us just £1.00 – or even better, £1.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. Click here to make a difference. Thanks.