THE SYSTEMATIC SUPPRESSION OF FREE SPEECH IN AUSTRALIA’S UNIVERSITIES

My article on free speech on campus first appeared in the April 2019 edition of the IPA Review. It is now freely available online.

As an academic myself, I have noted with great despair the sort of pseudo-intellectualism that has made its way into Australia’s universities. Of course, the academic elite will vehemently deny there is any such problem on our campuses. And yet, suppression of free speech is a very real thing and the silencing of minority opinion has been systematic in faculty recruitment and academic promotion across most Australian universities.

In today’s Australia, questions of research quality, academic excellence, critical thinking, and intellectual distinction appear to be considerably out of style. The nation’s academic elite openly support speech codes and over-regulation of student life. Indeed, most of our universities have become rather oppressive spaces ruled by officious bureaucrats enforcing their own leftist dictates upon everybody else, academics included.

But I do not know any “conservative” academic who is actually against free speech. And yet, I know very well that the silencing of conservative opinion has been systematic on our university campuses. Indeed, there is little doubt that many Australian universities are failing to exercise their legal obligation to protect free speech on campuses, with the Universities of Western Australia and Sydney undoubtedly being two of the worst culprits, according to the ANU’s Chancellor, Professor Gareth Evans AC QC.

To read more, visit the website of the IPA Review.

Prof Augusto Zimmermann