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Winning! Australian Govt writes laws to protect people like Peter Ridd at universities

The Australian government admits Peter Ridd should never have been sacked for criticizing standards of James Cook University

Peter Ridd, High Court battle for Free Speech

Peter Ridd is still fighting for his right to speak

Great News: In an era of absurd censorship, it’s good to get a win. Thanks to all those who wrote letters and emails, and obviously, thanks to the IPA, the government is insisting that Professors be allowed to decide what professors say, rather than Vice Chancellors. Soon, if fraud should occur at James Cook Uni, people will be able to suggest it gets investigated without getting fired for being “uncollegial.”

As Education Minister Dan Tehan told Sky News this morning:

“[James Cook University] wouldn’t have been able to prosecute Peter Ridd if these laws had of been in place.”

“By defining academic freedom in legislation, Education Minister Dan Tehan is ensuring the dismissal of an academic like Peter Ridd can never happen again,” said Mr Rozner.

 — Institute of Public Affairs (IPA)

To recap Peter Ridds crimes: he said “for your amusement” in an email once. (Illegal satire). He said “ We can no longer rely on our science institutions.” He talked about the replication crisis in science, which was borne out in research, and he spotted duplicated photos that appear to be fraudulent by a JCU researcher who was separately was found guilty of fabricating data in Sweden. JCU have spent something like $2 million fighting for their right to sack Ridd. Not surprisingly in the current environment, JCU staff are frightened to use their emails.


Of professors, there are only a few,
Who dare challenge or doubt peer-review,
Of all topics climatic,
Which is so problematic,
For alarmists who think it taboo.


The legislation still needs to pass the Senate, but this is likely.

This Act is the Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) Act 2020.

Academic freedom means the following:
(a) the freedom of academic staff to teach, discuss, and research and to disseminate and publish the results of their research;
(b) the freedom of academic staff and students to engage in intellectual inquiry, to express their opinions and beliefs, and to contribute to public debate, in relation to their subjects of study and research;
(c) 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;
(d) the freedom of academic staff to participate in professional or  representative academic bodies;
(e) the freedom of students to participate in student societies and  associations;
(f) the autonomy of the higher education provider in relation to the choice of academic courses and offerings, the ways in which they are taught and the choices of research activities and the ways in which they are conducted.

This won’t help Peter Ridd of course. The High Court will decide whether to allow his appeal next February.

High Court to consider the Peter Ridd Case in February

From Peter Ridd

Peter Ridds, Book, Reef Heresy.

Click to buy the book.

Dear All,
We got some good news today. The High Court has reviewed our documentation and set the date for the hearing to decide if it will hear our full appeal. It will be February next year. The great majority of applications are rejected on the documentation, so we have passed the first hurdle. If we succeed in February, the actual hearing could be many months after that. Go Fund ME.

We got some other very good news on Wednesday with the Commonwealth education Minister Dan Tehan, announcing the introduction of a University Free-Speech bill in parliament. Minister Tehan said “the legal advice that I have is that they [JCU] wouldn’t have been able to prosecute Peter Ridd if these laws had of been in, place.”

Thankyou Minister! I have been told on the grapevine that there has been a lot of lobbying to get this Bill into parliament and I thank the likes Senator Hansen, George Christensen and doubtless many others for their efforts. More information at

Irrespective of whether JCU win in the High Court, they now have a piece of legislation introduced to stop their disgraceful behaviour happening again. Unfortunately, we have to fight on what the law was in 2018. But JCU is now in no doubt about where the Government stands on this issue.

Finally, my book on the Great Barrier Reef, and why it is not as badly damaged as is often claimed, is coming off the printing press (in Victoria). Despite the virus it is available for order through Connor Court Publishing

The book is written for the layman and looks at all the major threats to the reef and the flaws in science quality assurance. The book also has a short section on the legal saga written by Morgan Begg from the IPA. We decided that I was the last person who could write in a detached manner about that.
So it has been a good week. We now wait until February.

Thanks again for supporting the cause. I am getting the feeling it has all been worth it.

Kind regards

Media Release ——————————————————————————————————————-


Ensuring freedom of speech and freedom of academic inquiry


The Hon Dan Tehan MP  Minister for Education

The Morrison Government is taking action to protect freedom of speech and freedom of academic inquiry at Australian universities. Minister for Education Dan Tehan today introduced the Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) Bill 2020 into Parliament to strengthen protections for freedom of speech and academic freedom.

The legislation will bring the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA) into line with the French Model Code, which all universities have agreed to adopt this year.

“Freedom of speech is a core value of Australian universities,” Mr Tehan said. “When universities foster robust inquiry and open debate they advance our collective knowledge and strengthen our society. “As Justice French observed in his review: even a limited number of incidents seen as affecting freedom of speech may have an adverse impact on public perception of the higher education sector.

“Protecting free speech is also an individual responsibility. The test of our commitment to free speech is whether we are willing to tolerate the speech of others, especially those with whom we most disagree.

h/t RicDre

9.8 out of 10 based on 69 ratings

31 comments to Winning! Australian Govt writes laws to protect people like Peter Ridd at universities

  • #
    Ted O'Brien.

    It’s an awful shame that this had to be done by legislation. It’s a sign of a sick system.

    Thanks to the people who achieved this, and keep up the good work!


    • #

      Hi Ted. The problem started when universities became businesses rather than schools. It was further destroyed when academics handed the reins to bureaucrats to drive the institution. Greed for grants is more important than truth and rigor in research. The problem then becomes “Can I believe any research coming from an institution run primarily to make a profit?” The answer is a definite NO. Recently Jo highlighted the fact that a high proportion of medical research and the following recommendations is based on poor data and is not reviewed or checked by anybody. IOW you get the results you were paid to produce. In the current COVID climate there are as many expert opinions, many in conflict with the perceived wisdom, as there are experts. It is strange that governments adhere to the advice that includes lockdowns and masks when most other experts say neither are beneficial and could be dangerous. Are the majority, in this case, not collegiate or are they correct?


      • #
        Ted O'Brien.

        In my view it started with Whitlam.


      • #

        As Lawrie said – “The problem started when universities became businesses rather than schools.” Bang on.

        Ironically, some big businesses seem more able to produce worthy research than many universities now. As universities prostitute their name to the highest bidder it stands to reason that other institutes could overtake them in relative prestige.


    • #
      Sceptical Sam

      The potential problem with this legislation being brought before the Parliament at this point is that it suggests the Government sees the action by JCU as legitimate.

      Accordingly, Government recognises the need to close off the loop-hole with legislation.

      The statement: “[James Cook University] wouldn’t have been able to prosecute Peter Ridd if these laws had of been in place.” suggests that JCU, under the current regime, had every right to prosecute Prof Ridd.

      I hope I’m wrong. We don’t need another martyr for the sceptics’ cause.

      Hopefully, the High Court sees it Prof Ridd’s way.


      • #

        you are correct. That statement was ambiguous and ill advised.


      • #

        The right to criticise the work of others is custom in academia. Its understood to be the backbone of intellectual pursuits by everyone, whether they think it or are full of hubris about being at the forefront of saving the Earth.

        Ridd won because the workplace agreement wasn’t written properly to override the custom. For some reason, it was just assumed university leaders wouldn’t be grubs rather than it being forbidden to do. I’m assuming the act makes it illegal for universities to write a workplace agreement that can take away this right.


        • #
          Sceptical Sam

          Ridd won

          Nope. Not yet. He won the first round, lost the second round (the Appeal) and the High Court is yet to decide whether it will hear the case.

          It might not hear it.


          • #

            I’m aware that it was overturned, on the grounds that his criticism was personal opinion. Stinks of wanting an excuse to ignore that he, rightly, expected academic freedom. Stinks of leftwing politics rather than following our laws.


  • #

    Why has it taken so long? Rhetorical question I know. Politicians with authority and/or power tend to be divorced from reality so much that it takes a long time for them to catch up with the real world. Therein lies the problem with our systems of government.


    • #
      el gordo

      All governments struggle to get the mix right, but then the law of unintended consequences intervenes and makes a mess of it. With the Ridd saga its quite obvious the government has dropped the ball and is looking for a face saving way to fix the problem.

      Ultimately, this small isolated battle offers a real chance to undermine the Klimatariat and their scandalous attempt to muzzle free speech on climate change will be severely tested.


  • #
    Just Thinkin'

    About bloomin’ time.

    The DEEP STATE runs VERY deep.

    Australia is not immune from this.

    We have so many New World Order politicians that I am surprised
    that this has reached this far.

    I stand VERY surprised.

    Now all they have to do is get us out of the UN and its
    offsprings like the paris accord.etc..


    • #

      Now all they have to do is get us out of the UN and its
      offspring like the paris accord.etc..

      Keep writing those letters. Don’t stop.

      One day,


    • #

      Now all they have to do is get us out of the UN and its
      offspring like the paris accord.etc..

      Keep writing those letters. Don’t stop.

      One day, the right things will happen …


  • #
    Old Goat

    Finally the renaissance arrives . We have been following the orthodoxy for too long. Lets hope our places of higher learning embrace the concept of “truth in science” from now on ( but not holding breath).


    • #
      el gordo

      It’ll be a renaissance in that its going to open up a can of worms on climate change, the people need to be informed and universities brought into line, freedom of speech is essential.

      Academia is going through a bad trot, brought on by greed, so its a good time for a general purge.

      ‘Over half of international students at major Australian universities are entering undergraduate degrees through lucrative programs with negligible eligibility requirements.’ Oz


  • #

    Let’s hope that this proposed legislation goes through as planned, and that it actually does address the problem.


  • #
  • #

    So, to force an Australian Govt-funded University to actually allow free-speech, the government has to change the legislation. Meanwhile, the same government continues to fund the university to defend its right to deny free speech?
    This is the stuff of “Yes Minister” or “Monty Python”.


  • #

    I’m glad this persecution of Prof Ridd has shown up fake science for what it is, think CSIRO and BOM, we now have ‘giant hail’, once upon a time it was just hail, now we have ‘catastrophic’ fire weather and other hysterical descriptions.
    Keep up the good work.


    • #

      But don’t forget that the Bushfires Royal Commission accepted evidence from both the BoM and the CSIRO that climate change was a major factor in 2019/20 bushfire season, and the future as global warming increases looks seriously bad for bushfires.

      I wonder if they BoM considered bushfires before 1910?

      Or that Australia is the land of droughts and flooding rains long before 1910?

      That without fuel bushfires cannot burn out of control, and with land management to reduce fuel fires tend to be cooler and more easily controlled?


  • #

    ‘had of been’?


  • #

    A step in the right direction, but it really needs a directive to TEQSA which says audit this by checking employment contracts for academic staff.


  • #

    OT—Depressing US news: in a new 2,200 person YouGov survey: communism more popular than ever, reaching 49% with Gen-Z (born 1996 or later), and with 64% NOT KNOWING that Communism killed more people than the German Nazis.

    I have no clue if it is similar in the Antipodes. See my NEW link in Unthreaded for more.


  • #

    Great News!

    Even greater if Peter Ridd can be vindicated by your supreme court.

    Greater still, if Murry Salby could revisit the harm that was done to him, maybe even with compensation.


  • #

    2 people are in a room who have different views. One gets offended by the other, the other does not. The one offended demands the other doesn’t state, express, or even believe their views.

    Nice way to shut down another view, isn’t it?

    I’ve often been struck by the following logic about naivety, murder, and survival.

    2 people or groups live within a Malthusian state of limited resources, one of these is willing to kill or murder, the other isn’t. Of course the one who doesn’t murder doesn’t suspect the other of being willing or prepared to do it, so does not prepare any real defence. Result: in the absence of strong laws, the naïve tend to get eliminated over time, leaving only murderers to survive. It’s mathematics.

    Unless the one which isn’t willing to murder has either a strong defence of some kind, or exists within a strong legal system and its’ application, over time murderers and thugs will tend to prosper.

    The same goes for silencing other people’s views.


  • #
    Mark Pawelek

    Great news that John Cook University muhtasibs will no longer be able to enforce climate-sharia on every academic.

    Ooops sorry – I meant ‘James Cook’, of course. PS: I knew you aussies had a sense of fairness.