AAUP recommends reform of the Freedom of Speech Act

Recently, the Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) Act came into force and Minister Tudge is calling on all universities to implement it.

However, there are serious issues with the Act, as explained below. We encourage all AAUP chapters to seek out their institution’s Statement on Academic Freedom and to engage in its development in order to ensure that academic freedom is protected.

 The two issues with the Act are:

1.       The Act does not include a proposed definition for ‘freedom of speech’. Freedom of Speech must be defined in the document and differentiated from Academic Freedom. For example, see.

2. In the Act, the following clause should be changed (the problematic part set in bold red is to be deleted):

(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;

AAUP Council, May 2021

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