Dr. Jennifer Marohasy writes in an email:
Peter Ridd’s woes began after he did an interview with Alan Jones on Sky Television last August. To be precise the interview was on 2 August and it was in part to promote the book I had edited ‘Climate Change, The Facts 2017’.
Alan Jones was so pleased with how it all went he emailed me the next day, and also sent off a letter to the Minister Josh Frydenberg – complaining about the Bureau of Meteorology and the lack of integrity in the recording of cold temperatures.
While Alan Jones was very pleased with the interview, the management at James Cook University was upset. So, upset it censored Peter. Peter immediately contacted the Union – his Union, the National Tertiary Education Union. They weren’t very helpful – he had brought it all on himself.
Then John Roskam helped Peter get some proper legal advice and we – and by we, I mean you as a reader of this occasional newsletter – got behind a serious fundraising campaign to support the legal effort. Together, we have helped Peter Ridd raise AU$260,000.
Your contribution to this campaign has made a difference!
Many of you not only contributed money, but also forwarded my emails, some of you to everyone on your email list. This also brought in tremendous support – and money. Thank you!
In fact, so impressive has been our campaign – joined by the networks that support Anthony Watts, Joanne Nova and Benny Peiser – that even Peter’s Union now want to support him.
My mother has always said: success brings its own success.
Late yesterday, the National Tertiary Education Union (Peter’s Union) put out a media release explaining that:
“It is ironic in the extreme that JCU management appear to have been trying to protect the reputation of the University and bodies like the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Given the nature of the (entirely predictable) extensive media coverage, all management have done is to feed a right-wing media narrative that universities are conformist and actively suppress heterodox views on topics such as climate change.
“A university, even a relatively young one such as JCU should have the courage of its convictions and commitment to its mission so as to allow its staff to engage in robust scientific, political and academic debates, regardless of any perceived reputational damage that critical positions might generate.
“The simple fact of the matter is that defence of the core value of genuine academic freedom is not well served by the corporate, top-down, anti-collegial and managerialist structure and culture in today’s universities, and is incompatible with managerial preoccupations with “brand” and “image”. This might explain why so many university managements (including JCU) sought to remove Academic/Intellectual Freedom clauses from our Enterprise Agreements in the current round of bargaining.
“Whither academic freedom?
“In this environment, the NTEU is obliged to reassert its commitment to academic freedom, even or especially where its expression contains statements that may be at odds with many or most members’ views.
Without the maintenance of the core value of academic freedom, our universities would cease to be worthy of the name.
“The NTEU calls for the immediate reinstatement of Professor Peter Ridd.”