The @JCU ‘Bad Riddance’

by Gideon Rozner

Republished with permission from:The Spectator Australia, 9 March 2019

When the Left talks derisively about ‘climate deniers’, they probably imagine someone very different from Dr Peter Ridd. Bearded, bespectacled and softly-spoken, Ridd is a sandal-wearing one-time Green voter and former president of his local chapter of the Wildlife Protection Society. He is also a marine geophysicist who has been studying the Great Barrier Reef for over 35 years. And like many in his field, Ridd is passionate about his subject.

But Ridd is equally passionate about his profession, and has spent years questioning the orthodoxy that climate change is ‘killing the reef’. In speaking out against this climate alarmism, Ridd put himself on a collision course with his employer, James Cook University. After years of warnings, censures and absurd gag orders, Ridd was finally made to walk the plank. Now, he’s fighting back, in a case with momentous implications for free speech in Australia.

Reading Ridd’s work can be difficult for a layman. It is detached, dispassionate and everything that scientific writing should be: careful consideration of the evidence followed by a sober conclusion.

Take, for example, Ridd’s contribution to the Institute of Public Affairs’ Climate Change: The Facts 2017, in which he dispels the myths about the Great Barrier Reef repeated ad nauseam by climate evangelists. Yes, coral bleaching has occurred, but that is not a new phenomenon. In fact, the white colourisation that creates the ‘bleached’ look is a natural response that enables the coral to adjust to warmer temperatures and, over time, thrive.

So why does ‘conventional wisdom’ suggest that the reef is in mortal, man-made danger? Largely because dissenting voices ‘are typically ignored, drowned out and sidelined by the majority’, Ridd writes. ‘There is now an industry that employs thousands of people whose job it is to “save the Great Barrier Reef”. As a scientist, to question the proposition that the reef is damaged is potentially a career-ending move’.

Ridd’s biggest beef is with the questionable marine science fuelling the save-the-reef hysteria. The ‘peer review’ process feted by ‘the-science-is-settled’ types is not the guarantee of scientific authenticity that its name suggests. Peer review, according to Ridd, ‘usually consists of a cursory read of the scientific paper, often just for a couple of hours, by two scientists. They never have time to check the data property, or to try to repeat the analyses’.

But the minute Ridd blew the whistle on this shoddy science, he was a goner. Given JCU’s extensive interest in reef science, publicly questioning their methodology was arguably always going to make him an irritant.

Ridd had been on JCU’s radar for some time, but the publication of his chapter in Climate Change: The Facts transformed his struggle from the occasional skirmish to all-out war. After a subsequent interview on Sky News, a barrage of letters from the university started, accusing Ridd of ‘serious misconduct’ on several trumped-up grounds.

When Ridd publicly – and understandably – objected to his treatment by the university, JCU accused him of ‘denigrating’ the university, ‘interfering with the disciplinary process’, even of being ‘insubordinate’. And when public statements weren’t enough, the university searched his email account to dig up further breaches of the code.

Worse still, JCU has slapped Ridd with numerous ‘confidentiality’ directions in relation to the disciplinary process. As Ridd has correctly pointed out, gag orders of this nature effectively create a star chamber in which ‘victims are isolated, subjected to a closed disciplinary procedure where highly subjective concepts are applied’.

Ridd’s ordeal culminated in his termination in May last year. He has taken legal action in response, in part with the help of a campaign on crowdfunding website GoFundMe. Thousands of Australians donated, and the campaign amassed over $250,000 in just a few days. Ridd will have his day in court in Brisbane later this month.

Ridd has much in his favour. The enterprise bargaining agreement covering JCU staff – essentially Ridd’s employment contract – has extensive free speech protections. Under the agreement, staff have the express right to air unpopular or controversial views, and participate in wider public debate. Importantly, they are also entitled to express public opinions about the operation of JCU and university decisions.

The problem for Ridd is he is also subject to JCU’s staff code of conduct, which imposes all manner of vague requirements, like behaving ‘in a way that upholds the integrity and good nature of the university’. Under the pretext of this code, JCU has hit Ridd with a barrage of outlandish claims of alleged breaches, such as failure to be ‘collegial’ and ‘respect the reputations of other colleagues’.

JCU would have this dispute reduced to the narrow legal matter of which document trumps the other. Is it the enterprise bargaining agreement, with its protection of academic freedom? Or is it the code of conduct, with its rubbery obligations of ‘collegiality’?

But this case is about more than that. It will decide what academic freedom means, what intellectual inquiry means, what free and open debate means. And it is about whether a binding legal agreement promising these things can be rendered meaningless by a cadre of self-interested university administrators via an Orwellian code of conduct and a Kafkaesque disciplinary process.

And above all, this case is about the simmering free speech crisis at Australian universities, about places of higher learning that place their own reputations above the search for truth. Throughout this sorry saga, JCU has justified their railroading of Ridd on the basis of a requirement to protect the ‘integrity and reputation’ of the university. But all Ridd was doing was belling the cat on scientific standards that were at best sloppy and at worst dishonest.

No doubt exposing such academic quackery probably does compromise JCU’s integrity and reputation, but deservedly so. It would appear, then, that rules against compromising that precious reputation are really just a protection racket. They are a velvet glove with which to stamp out dissent.

We should be grateful that Peter Ridd is one target who will not go quietly.

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Coeur de Lion
March 11, 2019 8:18 am

The speed with which crowdfunding raised huge sums to cover his defence shows that there ‘s 97% of people out there who wish to
screw AGW.

observa
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
March 11, 2019 9:29 am

That’s screw CAGW bro. Big difference and the bone of contention not that anyone has measured either but just moved tipping points. The crowd funding speed and success is very heartening though.

KaliforniaKook
Reply to  observa
March 11, 2019 10:45 am

Yeah, I have to agree with you, observa. We do affect our environment – especially locally. We can even affect the local environment catastrophically (area of an open mine, for example). But we haven’t affected the global environment catastrophically. Our affect is just barely measurable in some ways (e.g., area of some open-ground mines, landfills, etc. vs. total area of Earth), and undetectable in most (atmosphere, temperature). We just know empirically that we must have some effect, albeit minute.

Dale Mullen
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
March 12, 2019 9:38 am

It’s unfortunate that the article implies that only Australians jumped in to help. A quick look at the list will yield not only people such as myself (Canadian) but also numerous donors from various countries.

Ardy
Reply to  Dale Mullen
March 12, 2019 1:35 pm

Very true Dale, When I donated there were plenty of Americans/Canadians and some Europeans on the list.
I’m an Aussie BTW

troe
March 11, 2019 8:20 am

A display of integrity on his part and a display of corruption on the university’s part. A healthy debate on a contentious subject is bound to be sharp. That the administrators of the university are unwilling to uphold their basic charge makes them corrupt. They have to go.

Javert Chip
Reply to  troe
March 11, 2019 3:43 pm

Unfortunately, cowardly, unnamed, taxpayer-paid university administrators who lie, cheat and engage in vicious, sneaky behind-your-back stuff almost never get fired. In the US at least, this is the same crowd that refuses to report rapes and other crimes to the non-campus (AKA “real”) police. Effectively, there is no accountability for academic administrators.

The fact that a system civil society set up to protect guys like Peter has now been hi-jacked by weenie administrators is frustration to the general public, humiliating to academics, and dangerous to Perter. Hopefully, the court will have yet a different opinion.

Maybe attempting to burn Peter at the stake would have qualified as a “separationable event” for grossly incompetent administrators.

TonyN
Reply to  Javert Chip
March 12, 2019 2:31 am

Anonymity is their shield

Name Names ….

bit chilly
Reply to  TonyN
March 12, 2019 7:06 pm

+1. Terrible state of affairs and i hope Peter is successful with his day in court, although i suspect it will take longer than a day if cases involving climate scientists elsewhere are anything to go by.

Kevin A
March 11, 2019 8:31 am

A look at what the Green cost of energy has become should wake the dead, JoNova site.

Greg
March 11, 2019 8:39 am

More power to him.

Left wing ( or other ) crusades and “causes” have no place in science.

Sadly most fields seem riddled with this kind of DOGMA, even aside from political or financial corruption, orthodoxy and percecution of “heretic” claims is pretty standard. Our quaint ideas of Edwardian gentlemen seeking the truth is farcical.

On the outer Barcoo
March 11, 2019 8:46 am

… “vague requirements, like behaving ‘in a way that upholds the integrity and good nature of the university’”

Such banal drivel sits poorly with respect to the recent treatment of another JCU professor: Bob Carter. A third of a century at James Cook University ended with them taking away his office, his unpaid adjunct professorship, and eventually his email address and even his library card. What a bunch of cowards.

Curious George
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
March 11, 2019 8:55 am

That’s a good nature of alarmists. Taken straight from Mussolini.

Taylor Pohlman
Reply to  Curious George
March 12, 2019 11:20 am

‘Straight from Mussolini’. Now if they could just get their climate models to run on time…

Clive Bond
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
March 11, 2019 10:28 pm

Bob Carter was a gentleman and an honest, ethical scientist. I attended one of his presentations and he drilled hard into the facts and showed the alternatives. Something the majority of the media will not let you do.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
March 12, 2019 4:29 am

sadly missed;-(
and yes Aus unis seem to think they are above reprimand or normal laws
like the banksters found out…not right.
maybe it will take a royal commission into our unis to sort them out and expose the rot..
theres plenty of it. wouldnt be hard.

knr
March 11, 2019 8:51 am

The author is right , a great deal of money and a lot of jobs ‘depend’ on the claim of this ‘doom ‘ and the requirement that something be ‘done’, even if that someone as little with science and much to do with ‘social justice ‘
And its far from being a Reef only issues , think of the leaders of this merry game , can imagine any of them getting a job in any other area given they combine massive arrogance with limited ability and poor scientific practice?

ozspeaksup
Reply to  knr
March 12, 2019 4:34 am

had a gfriend with little ed and skills manage to get into a ecoloons uni course with govvy assistance as well
from a likeable though dim lass she turned into co2 warrior and only what she was handd was gospel and dont dare! try and suggest different
needless to say we’ve not communicated since 2009 when i sent info on cop debacle and queried it all.
no loss to me;-)

the damage to society however? large.
shes pretty much gteed to have a high paid govvy dept job making peoples lives hell by using paperwork and regs to ruin farmers etc.

[I didn’t realize females could suffer from ED… -mod]

Independent_George
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 12, 2019 11:54 am

I’ve got the impression that ozspeaksup doesn’t suffer from ED so it’s ok.

Mike in MN
March 11, 2019 8:54 am

Money=Power. The University is simple ‘following the money”. Every lefty scam out there can be traced back to ‘follow the money’. The reason lefties like that concept is that they don’t really even need to be smart to get rich. Capitalists follow the money too, but it’s not hidden under the guise of ‘the greater good’. It’s programmed in to human nature via evolution to want more because of our ingrained survival instinct, because really, money=power=a secure source of food.

Ancient Chinese Proverb: When there is food on the table there are many problems. When there is no food on the table there is one problem.

Mike in MN
Reply to  Mike in MN
March 11, 2019 9:47 am

Related to this, would this article be published now? It is only five years old:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/africa-needs-fossil-fuels-to-end-energy-apartheid/

commieBob
March 11, 2019 9:10 am

With regard to collegiality:

Important speech about important issues, especially contentious issues, is instantly offensive. Jordan Peterson

The requirement that one should not offend one’s colleagues instantly destroys free speech. That, in turn, instantly destroys democracy.

Speaking the truth is the bedrock of our freedom. It’s the only way society’s problems will be properly addressed. If that doesn’t happen then society eventually collapses.

Loren Wilson
Reply to  commieBob
March 11, 2019 3:28 pm

Important speech is only offensive to those who choose to be easily offended.

LdB
Reply to  commieBob
March 12, 2019 1:03 am

It is what the left always hide behind .. I am offended sob sob.

James Clarke
March 11, 2019 9:25 am

“…like behaving ‘in a way that upholds the integrity and good nature of the university’.”

It seems to me that Peter Ridd is not in violation of the above clause. Indeed, he is the one behaving in a way that upholds the integrity of the University, and it is the administration that is in violation of denigrating the University’s integrity.

Integrity is defined as: “…the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” There is no doubt that Peter Ridd is an honest man concerning his research, and he is being true to the data. Peter’s honest approach to his science bolsters the integrity of the University. He has been clearly been operating within the domain of his contract and the University Staff Code of Conduct. He has violated a gag order, but the gag order is in violation of his contract and arguably the Code of Conduct.

If Australian justice is blind, Peter Ridd is vindicated and the University Administration is in serious trouble, but that is a big ‘if’.

MarkW
Reply to  James Clarke
March 11, 2019 9:38 am

I wonder how the leftists would react if they were told that they couldn’t criticize Trump because that would damage the reputation of the Office of the President?

Ron Long
Reply to  MarkW
March 11, 2019 12:07 pm

Ouch! That is right to the point!

paul courtney
Reply to  MarkW
March 11, 2019 12:18 pm

MarkW: My take is that the reaction of the left would be a sudden rediscovery of two amendments- the first and the second.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  paul courtney
March 11, 2019 5:21 pm

The Constitution? They probably forgot that thing exists, let alone read it.

It might take a couple years for the information to trickle through. They’ll already have taken a beating before that begins to make sense to them. Then they’ll misapply it.

Gary Pearse
March 11, 2019 9:26 am

I hope the judge realizes that the status quo reef scientists and the University are completely free to pummel Ridd with the hefty weight of their empirical data, reef autopsies, and peerless, compelling logic and dismissal was therefore inappropriate.

The experts must know how the reef survived a 120m drop in sealevel of the last glacial maximum and how it managed, in cooler seas to then grow back, keeping pace with a 120m recovery of sealevel, only to be subjected to higher temperatures than today during the climate optimum, 8000yrs ago (when driftwood bearing, open sea waves were crashing on the northern beaches of Greenland).

That will bring an apology from Professor Ridd and many of us who have waited in vain for such a tour de force from the clime syndicate.

On the outer Barcoo
Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 11, 2019 9:49 am

“The experts must know how the reef survived a 120m drop in sealevel of the last glacial maximum … ‘

The Great Barrier Reef did not exist when aboriginals arrived (during the last glacial maximum) in what is now Australia

tetris
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
March 11, 2019 10:44 am

Did their bio-archeologists makes notes of that when they did their lead line soundings upon arrival? “Sandy bottom. No corals. “

Absurd does as absurd goes…

commieBob
Reply to  tetris
March 11, 2019 12:45 pm

Maybe I’m misunderstanding you, in which case please forgive me.

At the maximum of the last glacial, sea level was about 400 feet below where it is now. The places where the corals now exist were dry land.

Peter
Reply to  commieBob
March 11, 2019 3:25 pm

The reef moved. Go walking on the Australian mainland. Plenty of evidence of when the sea level was higher also. The reef moved then also.

Thomas Englert
Reply to  commieBob
March 11, 2019 3:33 pm

Maybe the GBR was 400+ feet lower in elevation, down in the water. I doubt the corals vanished from the more Northern areas. But I never went to JCU, so I’m no “Reef Expert”.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  commieBob
March 11, 2019 8:34 pm

They colonized presently deeper water away from the mass of the reef in the case where the sea was not deep. Bikini Atoll clearly grew that 120 meters as meltwaters poured into the sea. This precisely why Tuvalu and most coral fringed islands are not being inundated with present rising sealevel. In fact most of the islands arg growing larger!

https://www.i4u.com/2018/02/127141/sinking-pacific-island-tuvalu-actually-getting-bigger

DonM
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
March 11, 2019 6:24 pm

LGM = 18 to 24 k years ago.

First human arrival in Australia = 50 to 65k years ago.

Now, if your premise is that SOME aboriginals only showed up 20k years ago, AND the GBR was called something else

(“careful Watubi, the breakers are caused by the “COSUS” (crapload of sharp underwater shrubs), don’t take your boat there”)

Then you might be justified in your blather.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
March 11, 2019 8:22 pm

GBR existed as all tropical reefs did. They had to die back with the 120m drop in sealevel but colonized the deeper water away from the present location.

Drilling at Bikini Atoll by the US prior to deonating the atomic bomb test showed 120m of accumulated coral before the drill penetrated basalt lava rock. To grow 120m keeping pace with rising sealevel with the melt of the continental glaciers of the glacial maximum, required that the coral be there in the first place! Similarly for the GBR. Moreover these reefs had to do this quite a number of times with the cycles of the Ice Age that we and our species its forebears have been living in for 2.6m years! Remarkably, some awfully familiar looking corals in the fossil record go back over a 100mya and corals appear to be one of the most adaptable and successful of life forms.

The reason ‘reef experts’ of the Catastrophic Anthropo Global Warming clan put bs out like this is the same reason their brethern in other chapters of the order want to disappear the Little Ice Age, the Medieval Warm Period and the even earlier warmer periods with no connection to CO2 levels and human activity. Getting asked is to stressful.

MarkW
March 11, 2019 9:34 am

In general, contracts, which are signed by both parties, take precedence over “codes” which are promulgated by one party and can be changed arbitrarily by the same party.

March 11, 2019 9:53 am

When JCU’s definition of “integrity” is at odds with a more universal definition of this term, then JCU is speaking nonsense. Protecting flawed claims under the guise of “preserving reputations” has NOTHING to do with integrity, unless we define “integrity” as “keeping a bunch of lies in tact”. That’s not my understanding of the term, and, it is not most people’s understanding of the term.

The integrity of liars — now there’s an oxymoron, if I ever saw one. And I thought US academic standards had gone to hell.

Rhys Jaggar
March 11, 2019 10:04 am

So you must uphold both ‘the integrity’ and the ‘good nature’ of the University.

The integrity of the University depends upon upholding the Highest Values of the Institution, so the first key area of debate should be what those highest values actually are.

Is it the Dispassionate Search for The Truth? That is the highest value of research scientists, to be sure, but a University is more than a Scientific Institute. Are the highest research values of non-science departments of the University any different? I have my doubts….

So what about teaching departments? I assume they wish to teach young students how to learn, how to argue, how to investigate, how to discriminate, how to evaluate and how to conclude.

Along with teaching STEM students how to programme, calculate, approximate, syntheise, purify, measure, compare, standardise and conceptualise. Most of those seem to me to involve distinguishing between error and precision.

So I am not sure how rigorous enquiry offends ‘the highest research values’ of JCU.

Which does beg the question as to whether non-research-based values rank higher at JCU?

So then you come to the ‘Good Nature’ of the University. What on earth does that mean?

Does it mean everyone getting along politely, no faculty shagging the undergraduates, there being honorable procedures for handling conflict, disciplinary matters, external pressures?

What I would hope it also includes is how to right previous errors. We have all made errors in life, usually despite honorable intentions. Most have not made career-threatening ones, however, which I think is what is being discussed here.

As I read things, a cabal of self-promoting players have built a career claiming the Barrier Reef is endangered. They must have measured a few things and drawn some conclusions. So have the measurements changed or were they always wrong? Were the conclusions premature or always lacking objectivity?

What JCU appears to be saying is that there is no procedure to adjudicate on competing claims of dissenting faculty. That would appear from the outside to be a significant failure of corporate governance, however there may be more to this than meets the eye.

The biggest problem will be if major grant funding schemes continue to arrive at JCU based on faulty science. They have to both forgo that income and in effect tell Canberra that they are a bunch of ‘ignorant halfwits’ for distributing such funding streams in the first place (or whatever the Aussie version of upward academic sledging is in 2019). Not a comfortable position for the CEO of a University to have to take….

So it appears that intellectual rigour is up against pragmatic political fluidity in this case.

It could go either way…..

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar
March 11, 2019 8:41 pm

Rhys: A rather good quick analysis of the issue.

ren
March 11, 2019 10:13 am

Bleaching Alert Area Image Animation (45N-45S)
over the past six months.
https://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/ocean/cb/baa/anim.html

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  ren
March 11, 2019 12:31 pm

ren

That is a very useful animation. Of course for most of the “alert” areas there are no reefs, but if there were, it would be a helpful predictor. I am not sure what anyone would do about it, though.

Do you have any idea why someone would invest in such a chart? It is an assessment of risk, not damage, and there is literally nothing anyone can do about it in advance. Perhaps it is actually a reprocessed a sea temperature anomaly chart because the risk to one reef for a given temperature is not the same as for another where the symbionts have been replaced by a different sub-species.

J Mac
March 11, 2019 11:55 am

Gideon Rozner,
RE: “Thousands of Australians donated, and the campaign amassed over $250,000 in just a few days.”

Peter Ridd’s Legal Action Fund has significant support globally, not just from the Aussies. Peter’s financial needs were campaigned here on WUWT and drew enthusiastic financial support from Anthony Watts international audience.

Cam_S
March 11, 2019 12:31 pm

FYI… Jennifer Marohasy has a commentary in the Aus Spectator, also. About the Aus BOM adjusting temperature records.
——————————————

The hottest summer on record except for the ones that we’ve changed

This last summer has been hot in south-eastern Australia. But was it the hottest ever? Summer 80 years ago was arguably as hot, if not hotter.

Australia’s Environment Minister, Melissa Price, also recently claimed this summer’s bushfires as a consequence of climate change. I grew up with stories from my late father of terrible bushfires – infernos – back in 1939. The Black Friday firestorm of 13 January 1939 destroyed four times the area of farmland and forest as the devastating February 2009 fires – and twenty times as much as burnt this last summer.

But it is actually now near impossible to know which summer was the hottest ever summer – because of the extensive remodelling of our temperature history.

https://www.spectator.com.au/2019/03/the-hottest-summer-on-record-except-for-the-ones-that-weve-changed/

graham dunton
March 11, 2019 12:54 pm

Yes, I am a supporter of Peters battle with JCU.
But at the same time please remember other’s, whose opinions have ended careers.
The one, so many off us miss, is the late great, Professor Bob Carter. Another out cast of JCU
Then we have Author of the seminal book on climate; “Physics of the Atmosphere & Climate” Professor Murry Salby, formally of Macquarie University, luckily not totally decapitated, but his wisdom was not conforming…this video is still extreamy current ,and to the point.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCya4LilBZ8

(QT) An Unsettling Climate
An extract from http://joannenova.com.au/2014/08/its-an-unsettling-climate-for-skeptical-scientists-like-murry-salby/
Setting the scene:
In April 2013, concluding a European tour to present his research, Salby arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris for a flight back to Australia, where he was a professor of climate science at Macquarie University. He discovered, to his dismay, that the university had canceled the return leg of his nonrefundable ticket. With Salby stranded, Macquarie then undertook misconduct proceedings against him that swiftly culminated in his dismissal.
I wrote about this extraordinary incident in July last year and asked Did Macquarie University sabotage, exile, blackban, strand and abandon Murry Salby?(EQ)

graham dunton
March 11, 2019 12:57 pm

Yes, I am a supporter of Peters battle with JCU.
But at the same time please remember other’s, whose opinions have ended careers.
The one, so many off us miss, is the late great, Professor Bob Carter. Another out cast of JCU
Then we have Author of the seminal book on climate; “Physics of the Atmosphere & Climate” Professor Murry Salby, formally of Macqua
rie University, luckily not totally decapitated, but his wisdom was not conforming…this video is still extreamy current ,and to the point.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCya4LilBZ8
(QT) An Unsettling Climate
An extract from http://joannenova.com.au/2014/08/its-an-unsettling-climate-for-skeptical-scientists-like-murry-salby/
Setting the scene:
In April 2013, concluding a European tour to present his research, Salby arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris for a flight back to Australia, where he was a professor of climate science at Macquarie University. He discovered, to his dismay, that the university had canceled the return leg of his nonrefundable ticket. With Salby stranded, Macquarie then undertook misconduct proceedings against him that swiftly culminated in his dismissal.
I wrote about this extraordinary incident in July last year and asked Did Macquarie University sabotage, exile, blackban, strand and abandon Murry Salby?(EQ)

Jeremy
March 11, 2019 1:05 pm

Let’s hope the Australian courts do a better job with Ridd’s contract
than they did with Salby’s contract.

https://mlsxmq.wixsite.com/salby-macquarie

LdB
Reply to  Jeremy
March 12, 2019 1:14 am

There was nothing much surprising with the Salby case refusing to do teaching responsibilities, and turning up to take a scheduled class was considered to be a breach of contract. If the contract doesn’t exist you don’t have employment rights it was hardly surprising.

March 11, 2019 1:05 pm

I seriously wonder if today we need Universities at all.

They started way back as places to train Priests, then some rich men decided
that they should send their sons to them to get a education.

Their “Golden years ” of research are now in the past, and today we no longer
need them if all they do is give out bits of paper that in the real world are worth
very little.

For example if we need to train say a Doctor, start them off as a Nurse, both
male and female. Then select those who do well for additional training.

Study the UK industrial revolution, without exception all of the “Inventers”,
the ones with good ideas, all had served a apprentiaship of seven years. They
had got their hands dirty.

As for the so called “Broadaning of their minds bit, they can continue to study whatever they fancy, but in their own time and expense.

True I never went to Uni. but my daughter did. ” She is now in charge of a centre to assist women suffering from domestic violence, her training paid off.

MJE

john
Reply to  Michael
March 11, 2019 1:31 pm

I think students would be better served by an on-line 1st year program supported by co-operative learning centres. This can be facilitated by lectures from some of the finest teachers worldwide and examined for biases before it goes in front of student eyeballs. This would also get the 1st year students out from under the thumbs of Lefty profs in their most vulnerable year. Costs would be much lower and it would be easier for kids to take it at their own pace.
A few profs would be out of work. So few of them get any real world experience as it is that forcing them to get real jobs would improve them if they ever get to teach. Some disciplines require labs and technical facilities but these are not the subjects that are full of crap anyway.

William
Reply to  Michael
March 11, 2019 6:40 pm

“She is now in charge of a centre to assist women suffering from domestic violence, her training paid off.”

I assume you forgot to add the /sarc tag?

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  William
March 11, 2019 7:24 pm

A good question. Did she really need a degree to do this job?

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Greg Cavanagh
March 12, 2019 4:44 am

no.
however to get a big wage and ongoing benefits..then yes.
Ive helped a couple of women leave abusive partners. you dont need training you need to see the problem and offer help
be that a safe house and some time to talk and offer options, and maybe a busticket out
doesnt take a damned degree to see the need and help.
I still get a call every year from one woman thanking me for saving her life, thats 14yrs ago this may

john
March 11, 2019 1:20 pm

Here’s a point on which my ignorance of the machinations of the law is pretty complete. Can Proff. Ridd sue to require the university to uphold better standards of research? It seems to me that suing for compensation is like closing the barn door after the horse has fled. It must be obvious if he wins that the process was deeply flawed.
the government and other contributors should be taking a deep look at what they are getting for their (our) money.

LdB
Reply to  john
March 12, 2019 1:23 am

Don’t be ridiculous that is like me suing you for not upholding manners and ethics standards in your home.

The Ridd case comes under the fair work act and it is about employee rights it has absolutely nothing to do with what the university is or does. If you replace the university with a coffee shop or a mining company everything would still play out the same.

The government gets zero say in the whole process outside they drafted the original law, Judicial independence is a hallmark of the system. The fair work commission and the high court both have a hastory of making decisions the government of the day hates and has to try and frame new laws.

Non Nomen
March 11, 2019 1:22 pm

I am glad that there are people like Peter Ridd and that there are so many people supporting him. JCU will get the final jitters if the courts, too, find him to be in the right. JCU wants hell-clicking scientist lackeys but will have to learn to live with dissenting opinions and its well-mannered representatives.

Mark - Helsinki
March 11, 2019 1:58 pm

Us reef keepers and builders laugh at the claims by JCU about the Barrier Reef.

Like OA, junk science, atmospheric CO2 can never acidify ocean water, and even NOAA have to point at sulfur vents in Italy to use as a scare example, because CO2 just can never do that, as there is not enough CO2 in the atmosphere of 5 earths

Robber
March 11, 2019 2:00 pm

The great explorer Captain James Cook would not wish to have his name associated with such a closed minds kindergarten. Perhaps it should be renamed the cookie cutter college for conformists.

ResourceGuy
March 11, 2019 2:30 pm

The (academic) State will crush the little guy no matter the merits of the case.

LdB
Reply to  ResourceGuy
March 12, 2019 1:25 am

How will it do that it isn’t even a party in the case and clearly you know nothing of the system.

Tony Anderson
March 11, 2019 3:40 pm

Long may scientist like Peter Ridd live; questioning the science, seeking facts and not trying to hoodwink people to gain taxpayer funded grants,

GREG in Houston
March 11, 2019 3:48 pm

“They never have time to check the data property…” should be “properly.”

Mike Maxwell
March 11, 2019 8:32 pm

JCU’s staff code of conduct includes “behaving ‘in a way that upholds the integrity and good nature of the university’”. I would like to suggest some better wording for the university: “The ‘social credit system,’ first announced in 2014, aims to reinforce the idea that ‘keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful.'”

Actually, my suggested wording comes from the Chinese government (and the translation from Business Insider), so I won’t take credit for it.

LdB
Reply to  Mike Maxwell
March 12, 2019 1:36 am

The issue is wider than that because it involves conduct not in work time or on work premises and in media discussions. Many companies have media policies employees agree to but the uni is trying to use conduct clauses to cover the area.

High Treason
March 11, 2019 9:02 pm

Here in Australia, we see freedom of speech almost gone. All you have to do is claim offense or “hate speech”, call someone a racist and that is the end of them. Out with an 18c , your job undermined, your career in tatters. The crime-telling the truth. The PC brigade/SJWs and offence industry need to have a good hard look in the mirror. This is where the fascists they are looking for reside.

If you want to find a fascist, just look in the mirror. That’s where the fascists will be. This is the song that needs to be sung to the useful idiots.

For those in Sydney, Tim Soutphommasane is speaking at the Perkins Centre at Sydney University on Thursday, 21 March at 6.30pm. It is part of the Sydney Ideas series, which usually land on APAC (Foxtel.)The topic-Hate and Race in politics. This is an oxymoron if this there ever was. Who will join me to ask him a searching question? Who will stand up in support. In a theatre that holds 500, it will be great to show them up for the little fascists they are.

As the rhetoric gets totally insane, this is the opportunity to wake people up that the Emperor is wearing no clothes. The tide has to turn eventually, then the rats will be running for cover and will rat out on each other.

LdB
Reply to  High Treason
March 12, 2019 1:32 am

You clearly know nothing of Australian law it will probably surprise you to know Australian don’t have a right of free speech. Our laws are framed in reverse to USA they say what you can’t do not what you can.

Try reading about what the actual situation is in Australia first then comment
https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2018/09/australia-does-not-have-freedom-of-speech/

It is like a percentage of the Australian population think we have 1st ammendment right because US TV shows talk about it.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  LdB
March 12, 2019 3:13 am

What LdB ^^^^ said!

There are no rights in Australia. No bill of rights, as in the US! We are “granted” certain “privileges” is the best way I can describe it. I am not a legal beagle…there is probably some other BS term.

“LdB March 12, 2019 at 1:32 am

It is like a percentage of the Australian population think we have 1st amendment right because US TV shows talk about it.”

Most Australians “get” their “rights” information and “science” from US TV shows broadcast here. It’s almost 24hr US TV tripe (I make no apology to US commenters here at WUWT). Aussie TV is not much better, if at all! Trouble is, seems like almost ALL VOTING Australians have fallen for the tripe, both US and Aussie.

John Endicott
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 12, 2019 11:29 am

It’s almost 24hr US TV tripe (I make no apology to US commenters here at WUWT)

no need to apology, most US TV is tripe. As is most Aussie TV, UK TV, Canadian TV, etc. Non-tripe TV is the exception the world over.

Richard
March 11, 2019 9:49 pm

Dr Peter Ridd did not harm the reputation of JCU when he exposed their malfeasance. The University itself had already done all the damage to itself. Without the exposure Dr Ridd provided, the cancer would spread unchecked.

LdB
Reply to  Richard
March 12, 2019 1:40 am

Actually if that was all the case was about he would have a problem even if an employer does the wrong thing and employee may be barred from disclosing it. That is why whistleblower law exists

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistleblower_protection_in_Australia

Note ==> the protections for private sector whistleblowers to be weaker than for those in the public sector

So lucky for him he isn’t using your defense.

March 12, 2019 4:25 am

Regarding the comment as to did my daughter require a University degree to
run a centre for victims of domestic violence. Well no, probably not. Her own
inbuilt “Common Sense” is more than sufficient, it is a managerial job with
a staff of 19 other women and up to 40 “Victims,” their kids and even pets

Its a 24/7 operation and its a Church based centre, and yes her degree did
help in that it opened the door to get her to the top of the interview listing.

They gave her a three year contract, which in today’s world is a vote of
confidence in her ability. Such “Battered Women” do need assistance. It
short term, the average stay is three weeks, so turnover is quick.

The women learn just what their rights are in law, and in most cases following
a Court hearing , they return to the house with the husband living elsewhere
with a legal order to keep away from her.

She is now in her third year of the contract, with good signs for a renewal
of it. She is 58 so is not a “Wet behind the ears” graduate. She
graduated 10 years ago.

Prior to this job she was assisting women prisoners following their release
regarding employment etc. .

MJE

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