The Institute of Public Affairs has welcomed the decision of the Federal Circuit Court in relation to Dr Peter Ridd’s case against James Cook University.
Today, it was announced in the Federal Circuit Court that Dr Ridd will receive $1,219,214.47 in damages following the Court’s decision in April that Dr Ridd was unlawfully sacked.
Damages awarded $1.2 million is comprised of approximately $167,000 for past wages and superannuation lost, $835,000 for future wages and superannuation lost, $90,000 for general damages and $125,000 as pecuniary penalty.
“The sum awarded reflects the appalling nature of JCU’s treatment of Dr Ridd and vindicates Peter Ridd’s fight for academic freedom, free speech and integrity of climate science and peer review,” said Gideon Rozner, Director of Policy at the IPA.
“James Cook University must now rethink its stated plans to prolong this ugly dispute by appealing the decision. Dr Ridd won this case on all 17 counts. It is time for JCU to accept the decision and move on.”
“The very fact that an Australian university is willing to force the weight of an entire administration backed by taxpayer funds to stifle an academic’s freedom of speech sends a massive chilling effect to any academic engaging in public debate in Australia.”
“James Cook University’s shameful actions prove without doubt there is a crisis of free speech at Australian Universities.
A freedom of information request lodged by the Institute of Public Affairs with James Cook University revealed that the University has already spent at least $630,000 on legal fees in the Dr Peter Ridd case.
“Dragging this matter to a higher court would be unfair not only to Dr Ridd, but to JCU’s students who expect the university to spend its resources on teaching and research, not pointless legal frolics.”
“It is time for JCU’s council to step in to restore sanity, and save the university from spending millions of taxpayer dollars to exert control over a fine and sincere 30-year employee.”
“If not, Education Minister Dan Tehan must intervene and tell JCU to withdraw its appeal because it is an inappropriate expenditure of taxpayer funds and will do irreparable harm to the international reputation of Australia’s higher education sector,” Mr Rozner said.