Opinion

Australia’s Universities Are Failing To Protect Free Speech
3 October 2017

Australia’s Universities Are Failing To Protect Free Speech

Academic freedom is increasingly under threat on Australian campuses, and widespread speech codes leave universities unprepared to combat the danger. The latest threat comes from a new source: Chinese students, on four known occasions this year, have pressured academics to modify material to align with Chinese government foreign policy. At the University of Newcastle, a lecturer who listed Hong Kong
Read
No Safe Space From The Self-Righteous
28 September 2017

No Safe Space From The Self-Righteous

“The personal is political”, a slogan of radical feminism in the 1970s, has now become true. A family dinner would have once been considered a safe space for the personal and the private. But in March this year as the President of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, complained about the limits of the government’s political control when she lamented “Sadly
Read
Why Abolish 18C? Consider This Vexatious Complaint’s Threat To Free Speech
28 September 2017

Why Abolish 18C? Consider This Vexatious Complaint’s Threat To Free Speech

When the legal affairs editor of this paper, Chris Merritt, sent a carefully worded reply on March 9 to an email he had received two days earlier, that should have been the end of a matter involving what can fairly be described as a mild-mannered response to abusive hate mail. Instead, the relevant series of emails is about to become
Read
Equal Justice At Risk If Judges Consider Aboriginality In Sentencing
22 September 2017

Equal Justice At Risk If Judges Consider Aboriginality In Sentencing

During the past 10 years, incarceration in Australia has risen 40 per cent. A third of this is the result of more Indigenous Australians being jailed. Indigenous Australians are now jailed at a rate more than 12 times that of non-Indigenous Australians. The Australian Law Reform Commission is conducting an inquiry into this disproportionate rate of incarceration and how the criminal justice
Read
Media Reforms A Significant Achievement
21 September 2017

Media Reforms A Significant Achievement

The government’s market liberalisation win on media reform should not be underestimated. Despite the $60 million of taxpayer funds doled out to private media organisations, this is a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, much more reform is needed to open up Australia’s media landscape. Last week the government abolished the antiquated 75 per cent reach rule, which limits the
Read
Malcolm Turnbull’s Thoroughly Liberal Blasphemies
15 September 2017

Malcolm Turnbull’s Thoroughly Liberal Blasphemies

What’s been obvious to anyone outside the Canberra bubble for the last six months might finally have dawned upon Malcolm Turnbull and his ministers. The Coalition can win the next federal election – if it wants to. And of course the issue it can win on is cheap and reliable electricity. The public like renewable energy, but only in theory. And the
Read
Not Really Fit For Purpose: The Bureau Of Meteorology
11 September 2017

Not Really Fit For Purpose: The Bureau Of Meteorology

He studied chemistry at Imperial College, London, has 10 degrees, including a law degree, and has published more than 100 scientific papers. I’m referring to my husband, John Abbot. He is also a man of few words. Last Friday morning, after flipping through the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s latest 77-page internal report – Review of the Bureau of Meteorology’s Automatic
Read
Lack Of Same Sex Protection
2 September 2017

Lack Of Same Sex Protection

The (thankfully) former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs suggested recently that the same-sex marriage debate was taking place in a ‘post-truth’ climate and disputed claims there were insufficient protections for freedom of speech and religion. On the first point, Triggs is completely right. But in making the second point Triggs is engaging in a bit of
Read
Why Politicians Are Going Nowhere
1 September 2017

Why Politicians Are Going Nowhere

The refusal to celebrate Australia Day by a handful out of the more than 500 local councils around the country represents more than just another example of “political correctness” apparently run amok. The symbolism of local councils holding citizenship ceremonies on the day devoted to celebrating the country of which immigrants have just become citizens is powerful. No less powerful is
Read
Teachers As Activists
29 August 2017

Teachers As Activists

Earlier this month, parents at Forestville Public School in the Northern beaches were invited to watch their children perform in a play entitled ‘Australia –You’re Standing in It’. Much of the junior amateur production was apparently a light-hearted re-enactment of Australia’s history, from Captain Cook’s arrival on the shores of Australia to the iconic ‘Louie the Fly’ advertisements which hit
Read