The proposed draft Guidance Note represents a significant threat to freedom of speech and free academic inquiry in Australia’s universities. The Guidance Note should be withdrawn.
The concerns with the Guidance Note are as follows:
- The prioritisation of ‘inclusive language’ and teaching ‘diversity’ above free intellectual inquiry
- Free intellectual inquiry and diversity of viewpoints
- The conflation of equivalent opportunities and equity of outcomes
- The redefinition of social responsibility to potentially include social justice
- The necessity of the Guidance Note
The proposed Guidance Note reflects an extremist interpretation of the governing Statute, one which disregards the fundamental purpose of higher education. The Guidance Note should be withdrawn. It is vital that any guidance about diversity highlight the importance of diversity of viewpoint and free intellectual inquiry. This is not a secondary facet of higher education; it is fundamental to its very purpose.