NTEU shocked at finding of no academic freedom rights

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) today expressed disappointment with the dismissal of its claim in the Federal Court against the University of Sydney’s decision to sack academic staff member Dr Tim Anderson.

NTEU NSW Division Secretary Michael Thomson made the following comments:

“This case was ultimately about the principles of academic freedom, the right of university staff to express their views about their areas of expertise without fear or favour, even when those views are controversial or unpopular.”

“We lodged this claim for the same reasons we supported Queensland academic Dr Peter Ridd in his case against James Cook University – we don’t always agree with our members, but we will always defend their right to express those views.”

“Academic freedom is one of the cornerstones of academia and universities. It only comes under attack when something that is said or done offends someone.”

“Some of Australia’s Vice Chancellors are engaging in ‘cancel culture’ in taking these sorts of actions, when something is said or done that they disagree with. NTEU will always stand against that.”

“The outcome of this case highlights that there is effectively no legally enforceable right to academic freedom at the University of Sydney.”

“We call on all Vice Chancellors to come to the table to talk about how we can formulate a legally enforceable right, to provide the appropriate protections for university staff and to avoid these circumstances occurring in the future.”

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