James Cook University professor Peter Ridd. Picture: Cameron Laird

Peter Ridd Case: Academic Freedom Just Died in Australia

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Australia’s High Court has ruled that University administrators have the right to fire academics for breach of employment code of conduct, which has precedence over academic freedom.

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that we have lost the appeal in the High Court. We lost, in my opinion, because JCU’s work contract, under which I was employed, effectively kills academic freedom of speech – and the contract is effectively the law.

So, JCU actions were technically legal. But it was, in my opinion, never right, proper, decent, moral or in line with public expectations of how a university should behave.

I often ask myself, if I knew what was going to happen, would I have handled that fateful interview with Alan Jones and Peta Credlin in 2017 differently. Would I still say that, due to systemic quality assurance problems, work from a couple of Great Barrier Reef science institutions was “untrustworthy”?

It has cost me my job, my career, over $300K in legal fees, and more than a few grey hairs.

All I can say is that I hope I would do it again – because overall it was worth the battle, and having the battle is, in this case, more important than the result.

This is just a small battle in a much bigger war. It was a battle which we had to have and, in retrospect, lose. JCU’s and almost every other university in Australia and the western world are behaving badly. We have shown how badly.

Decent people and governments can see the immense problem we have. The universities are not our friends. Only when the problem is recognised will public pressure force a solution

The failure of our legal action, and JCU’s determination to effectively destroy academic freedom of speech, demonstrates that further legislation is required to force universities to behave properly – especially if they are to receive any public funding. The Commonwealth government introduced excellent legislation in parliament early this year, partly in response to our legal case, to bolster academic freedom of speech. It is an excellent step in the right direction.

If my case had been fought under this legislation, I would have had a better chance of winning. But it would still have been far from certain. There would still have been a clash between the new legislation and the work agreement.

There needs to be major punishment against universities for infringement of academic freedom of speech, such as fines or losing their accreditation. There needs to be active policing and investigations of the universities to make sure they comply and do not threaten academics with expensive legal action to stop the university’s behaviour becoming public. Universities must be told that they cannot spy on academic’s email communications (this should only be done by the police) or use secrecy directives to silence and intimidate staff. And all this protection for academics MUST be written into the work contracts to put the matter beyond legal doubt.

I am very mindful that I asked for, and received, donations of about $1,500,000 (in two GoFundMe campaigns of around $750k#) for the legal battle – from over 10,000 people. And I lost. Some of those donations were from people who have very slender financial resources. All I can say is that it weighs heavily on my conscience, but I hope they agree that it was still worth the battle.

A last thank you

I would like to express, one last time, my thanks to Stuart Wood AM QC, Ben Jellis, Ben Kidston, Colette Mintz, Mitchell Downes, Amelia Hasson and the rest of the team. They were fabulous. They did everything that was possible.

Thanks also to John Roskam, Gideon Rozner, Evan Mulholland, Morgan Begg and the Institute of Public Affairs. They backed me when things got tough. They are one of the few institutions in the country that will fight on issues of freedom of speech. I’d like to make a special mention of the IPA’s Jennifer Marohasy. She has been a great support over many years and played a crucial role in the critical early days of this fight.

Thanks to the National Tertiary Education Union. They supported the cause in court, even though my views on the Reef may well be opposed to the views of many of their members.

There are many politicians who have gone into bat on my behalf such as Matt Canavan, George Christensen, Pauline Hanson, Bob Katter, Gerard Rennick, Malcolm Roberts, Dan Tehan, and Alan Tudge (in alphabetical order). They obviously could not interfere with the legal proceedings, but were instrumental in bringing in the new academic freedom legislation.

There are many journalists and bloggers who helped spread the word, but I would particularly like to thanks Graham Lloyd from The Australian, Jo Nova, and Anthony Watts (WUWT).

There are also many other people, far too many to list, that I am thankful to. They will know who they are.

And finally, thanks to my family, and especially Cheryl.




Regardless of your view on the specifics of the Peter Ridd case, there is no doubt in my mind that this ruling will have a chilling effect on academic conduct and scientific progress.

Academics across Australia now know that universities have the legal right to oversee and regulate their public statements, because under Australian law, code of conduct rules now unambiguously have precedence over academic freedom.

There is a federal government bill – the Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) Bill 2020 – which was specifically introduced and passed in response to the JCU / Peter Ridd case. But James Cook University pursued their case against Peter Ridd anyway. Time will tell if the protections afforded, if the government response to the Peter Ridd case is enough to repair Australia’s reputation and academic environment.

Update (EW): I asked Peter Ridd to comment on the Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) Bill 2020, his response was That legislation will need a major overhaul.

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October 12, 2021 6:10 pm

Regardless of the outcome of the High Court, the taxpayer funded JCU has condoned sloppy GBR “research”

Reply to  Rasa
October 12, 2021 6:57 pm

Worse than sloppy. Much worse than sloppy.

Reply to  ATheoK
October 12, 2021 11:47 pm

More like deliberately fraudulent.

Academia in the “West” seems intent on digging its own grave.

October 13, 2021 9:18 am

Despite their best efforts , GBR has more live coral this year than any year since monitoring started in 1985 !

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Rasa
October 13, 2021 2:25 pm

The case also resulted in the institutes studying the GBR beginning to walk back the coral climate crises hype. Some months ago, they issued an upbeat report on the good condition of Pacific corals in general! This very broad study naturally failed to mention the GBR at all, which is one of the biggest ‘poker tells’ in the sphere of climateering.

The Ridd case and the forensic work of Jennifer Morahasy on Ridd’s behalf who surveyed areas of the reef pronounced dea/d or nearly so only to find a vibrant healthy reef. She also showed that uncareful photography (without correcting for the blue of the water yielded white-gray bleachy-looking very healthy coral). The walk back would be out of fear that someone was checking their work!

I recall, also that the main coral climateer GBR specialist Terry Hughes, talked about mapping large areas of the GBR from airplanes, finding most of the reef was bleached beyond repair. I had forgotten his name and found it on the internet with picture of him taking pictures from the air!

comment image

Looks pretty bleachy! Could it be possible that a marine biologist would be unaware of the uncareful photography effect? Nah, Shirley not.

October 12, 2021 6:10 pm

Sets an interesting and slightly scary precedent for work contracts. There are more than a few companies who will now push strict “media rules” into their contracts and they will need to strengthen whistleblower legislation.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  LdB
October 12, 2021 7:06 pm

Not really. Employment contracts and law in Australia is very clear.

Boff Doff
Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 13, 2021 2:41 am

If an academic had been fired for blowing the whistle on big oil company wrongdoing what do you think would be the chances of the high court coming up with this judgement?

Law is always subject to interpretation. It is never certain even when it is clear.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Boff Doff
October 13, 2021 7:16 pm

Without seeing the JCU code of conduct in the contract that he signed it’s difficult to say. But what I do know from many years of working in Australia “code of conduct” clauses in contracts are written so that employers can fire you in an instant. I know this from personal experience and there is nothing you can do about it.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 15, 2021 1:14 pm

and there is nothing you can do about it.

What is with you people? Just walk yourself into the boxcar ffs…

Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 13, 2021 9:10 am

“… breach of employment ‘code of conduct’ …”

If “code of conduct” means that you can’t tell the truth, or call attention to others’ lies, then there is something wrong with the code of conduct.

(I saw co-worker John fall off the roof; then I saw Supervisor Jim install the safety rail; my ‘code of conduct’ says I am to bring all safety issues and violations to my supervisor first and let the supervisor handle it. I will get fired if I tell anyone else … and (in Australia) reasonably so).

Patrick MJD
Reply to  DonM
October 13, 2021 7:11 pm

You would have to look at what their code of conduct was and what was written in to the contract he signed. Sadly in Australia employment laws were changed in the 90’s under Howards making it very easy for employers to fire people.

Reply to  LdB
October 13, 2021 9:28 am

Employment contracts are now worthless in Australia. Codes of conduct that the management can change on a whim now take precedence.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  MarkW
October 13, 2021 7:09 pm

They are not worthless, you can still be fired for breach of the code whatever it is.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 15, 2021 1:15 pm

After reading a few comments of yours already, I can tell you have a vested interest in this code of conduct bullsheet.

Jim Gorman
October 12, 2021 6:10 pm

Need to refuse to sign these contracts with this inside it. After losing some good professors the Universities may wake up and smell the shite they are causing.

Andy Espersen
Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 12, 2021 10:09 pm

You are right, Eric. The law is the law – courts have to follow it, whether they like to or not. The only solution is to change the law – and I am optimistic enough to believe that eventually, and sooner rather than later, that law will be changed. The desire to change it will come from inside the universities themselves. And I doubt we will have to wait for a generation for that to happen.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Andy Espersen
October 12, 2021 11:02 pm

But they don’t as evident in Australia in the sc@mdemic.

Reply to  Andy Espersen
October 13, 2021 12:32 am

That kind of approach as you state and propose,
it surely stands as a vivid illustration of “whack a mole” game.

The courts do weight actions in regard of the law and apply law, do not follow it blindly or otherwise.

A court of law have to take and assess a case in the individual merit bases,
and not in generalization terms.

A term of contract, or a code of employment, even legislation itself, have no merit or value when wrongly applied by a given authority.

Abuse or/and discrimination, in a given individual case, from a given authority, debases a term of contract, or a given code.


In a fascist state, a commy state and also a police state, the courts strictly and blindly follow the law.

Fairness alone does not offer or provides justice.
Courts of law have and must provide justice.
That is the very meaning of a court of law.

Simply relying in Further extension of legislation can not repair courts misjudgment and miscarriage or misconduct of justice.

Well… whatever.


Reply to  Andy Espersen
October 13, 2021 4:23 am

I don’t think the courts do apply the law. If they did then there would surely be very few court decisions overturned on appeal. What the courts appear to do is to apply a process. Under this process, all sorts of constraints are applied which pre-filter evidence, for example, so that not all the relevant facts get presented in court. I recently sat in on a civil case in which a mediation report provided to both parties was thrown out – ie, absolutely nothing in it was seen or heard in court – because it had been emailed and thus did not have the mediator’s and witnesses’ signatures.

The end effect is similar to what goes on in the bureaucracy, where the process takes priority over the objectives – like the bureaucrats in “yes Minister” claiming that a certain hospital was the most efficient hospital in Britain while omitting to notice that it had no patients.Yes we laugh, but underneath we know that it could actually happen.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 13, 2021 1:02 am

I am unclear from this as to whether Peter is out of pocket or whether donations have managed to cover his costs. If the former I don’t think a principled fight should cause him financial worries and would be willing to donate again.

Reply to  tonyb
October 13, 2021 4:07 am

I think that Peter paid a lot from his own pocket. I would really appreciate it if WUWT or someone could set up a fund that we could contribute to, which would reimburse Peter at least for his direct expenses.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
October 13, 2021 6:43 am

Yes, if someone could confirm if Peter is out of pocket and by how much ,I am sure that many of us would want to chip in to some centrally organised fund.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  tonyb
October 14, 2021 5:21 am

Mortgaged his house for 300,000

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 13, 2021 4:47 am

Eric, when I read the headline the first word that came to my mind was “bullies.” Every parent who has children who have been bullied at school knows the distress this causes. A child who is bigger, stronger and cleverer does not have problems with a bully but not so a smaller and perhaps physically weaker child.

But what is far worse is an adult bully. We have to contend with political and ideological bullies today who often seem to have the upper hand. These people are so fixated on achieving their goals that they care nothing about honesty, decency, compassion and generosity. We need to expose them and their ugliness.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 13, 2021 5:35 am

Nor do they have the right to challenge their juniors, should their juniors have adopted the “right” (NOT) point of view.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 13, 2021 9:12 am

not a whole generation, maybe about half of them. The other half realizes that they can use the rules has a tool to get their way and protect themselves.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 13, 2021 9:30 am

we risk creating an entire generation of Australian academics who will believe for the rest of their lives that they do not have the right to challenge their seniors.

That’s way socialism works.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
October 12, 2021 8:31 pm

There’s always somebody who is not good commercially but will happily take the Uni $$$ to produce rubbish research & get it published because they follow the required groupthink.
There’s no academic freedom if the HR & contracts can railroad academics into silence regarding questions of quality.

Poems of our Climate
Reply to  Jim Gorman
October 12, 2021 8:43 pm

C’mon, they’s deep sleepy woke.

son of mulder
Reply to  Jim Gorman
October 13, 2021 2:24 am

They don’t need good professors, they need money grubbing, politicised yes persons.

Dave Yaussy
October 12, 2021 6:13 pm

I contributed, and I still think it was money well spent.

Sorry for Peter and even sorrier for the state of academic integrity.

Reply to  Dave Yaussy
October 12, 2021 7:58 pm

Yeah, me too (and I’ve never set foot in Australia). I missed out on helping in one round of fund raising because so many people beat me to it!

I hope this will serve to warn academia to get their act in order, but given JCU’s behavior to date I doubt they’ll be listening.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Ric Werme
October 12, 2021 8:28 pm

It just means that their one-sided research will be strengthened.

Mike Lowe
Reply to  Dave Yaussy
October 12, 2021 8:36 pm

And the state of judicial decision-making.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Dave Yaussy
October 13, 2021 2:37 am

I also contributed, more than once, because I was appalled by the treatment Peter received from JCU. Peter is an excellent scientist and has integrity, something in short supply these days, He has been shabbily used by the very people who should have been supporting him. This is NOT academic freedom but a sinister form of tyranny! If this sort of suppression of ideas continues soon a university education will be worthless. The world does not need more degreed morons spouting the current narrative.

Reply to  Dave Yaussy
October 13, 2021 4:47 am

Dave Yaussy,
I am in the same position.
I don’t regret my donation for an instant.
I have just made a further donation to support Peter’s research in his new position at the Institute of Public Affairs.
The support he is getting from comments under the articles today in The Australian recording his loss in the High Court is heartening.
Many people are rightly scathing of JCU given the High Court has expressly stated that the 2016 censure and the Final censure were unwarranted, leaving Ridd with a loss of position,livelihood and superannuation in circumstances where he should never have been censured at all.
The complaints against him were malicious and morally wrong whatever the legal argument that he later breached confidentiality.

Tom Halla
October 12, 2021 6:17 pm

By US standards,the former British Empire has no real constitution, or rights under it. While Canada has what looks like a Constitution, with enumerated rights, the “notwithstanding” clause make it null and void.
I am unsure of what rights Australians think they have, but as the legislature or courts are not under any hard restrictions, they are effectively peons.
The US violators of the Constitution at least have to strain at gnats and engage in sophistry when they violate our rights.

Reply to  Tom Halla
October 12, 2021 6:30 pm

As Australians we have no rights our law is framed in the reverse to USA it says what you can not do anything else you are free to do.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  LdB
October 12, 2021 8:29 pm

Until they say you can’t.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 12, 2021 11:03 pm

And they stated that last year, and still even after “Freedom Day”. LMAO…

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 13, 2021 2:39 am

What Australians are currently putting up with vis a vis Covid demonstrates just how few rights they have!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
October 13, 2021 7:18 pm

We have no rights, everything is granted.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 14, 2021 5:47 am

‘Not withstanding’ is to accommodate French-speaking Quebec. There is a strong and different culture that they preserve. Actually, like the French in France, they accept less bulldust from Gov and other authorities than English speakers seem to. The Ridd case is an example. If a popular French scholar was subjected to this, there would likely be a bit of a rumble in the streets with students and staff.

Gerard Flood
October 12, 2021 6:18 pm

“The law moves in the direction of litigation” … if we have the grit to persevere. In these cases, the onus falls immediately on the Morrison universities minister, the relatively useless Alan Tudge, to reform the law immediately, and make recompense in some adequate way to Dr Ridd for his heroic struggle for the common good. Can “people power” rise to this challenge?

October 12, 2021 6:19 pm

Dr Ridd’s case and the recent covid hysteria showed us all that Australia has lost its anchor and moved so much south. The norms of western civilization cannot reach to this forsaken land.

Reply to  ChrisB
October 12, 2021 6:48 pm

The courts in Australia are partisan, they tend to favour the government unless the issue is climate change, when they favour activists. The civil liberties and human rights of the general populace are of no interest to the courts.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  DocBud
October 12, 2021 7:54 pm

True. It is how the state Govn’ts are able to breach various Commonwealth acts and laws during this pandemic, and get away with it.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 13, 2021 12:09 am

Not so. Precedent favoured the states

Absolutely free” does not mean what it says. The High Court has accepted that there can be limits if they are reasonable and imposed for a legitimate end, such as protecting the public from a dangerous disease.

This was in regard to shutting borders

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Duker
October 13, 2021 12:28 am

That is total bollocks. They are using “work safe” and “state of emergency” measures to get around current laws that protect freedoms and liberties which we are be run rough shod over for “health safety”.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 13, 2021 12:49 pm

Australia has no Bill of Rights, and very few freedoms or liberties in its constitution
Like I said previous precedent , not even for this pandemic, allowed border closures
Being shouty doenst change anything

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Duker
October 13, 2021 9:29 pm

There is still no evidence COVID-19 is any more “dangerous” than a common cold or ‘flu so the Hight Court is just following the narrative. The a state of emergency was declared based on flawed modelling and a PCR “test” that is not fit for purpose (Mullis) that didn’t eventuate.

October 12, 2021 6:22 pm

“Motus in fine velocior” Things move faster towards the end.

God bless, Peter. You’ve fought the great fight. We’re in strange times.

Meanwhile, the Great Barrier Reef seems to be doing quite well of late. Fancy that!

Support Dr Ridd any way you can, folks. He’s an absolute hero here down under.

Giordano Milton
October 12, 2021 6:25 pm

The person after whom I am named also fought for a similar cause, and—in his time—lost. He was burned at the stake in Campo dei Fiori (Rome) for “holding opinions contrary to the Catholic faith and speaking against it and its ministers”. Modern science (and by that I mean the highly politicized version of it we still call “science”) has fallen victim because of our complacency in allowing Marxist dogma to be taught in our schools, while independent thought was crushed.

But, we, as a race (humans) have seen this before. People swarm around old ideas marketed as new, and driven in with good doses of fear. This too shall pass.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Giordano Milton
October 12, 2021 7:26 pm

It won’t pass. Thou shalt not go against the establishment. It will just be different people/entities in control.
In ‘Animal Farm’ the humans were replaced by pigs.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
October 12, 2021 8:02 pm

In Jerusalem, they speak Hebrew, not Latin…..

In Poland, Solidarity WON…..

In Berlin, the wall fell……

In 2016, TRUMP WON (and will win in 2024 if all the efforts to prevent another rigged election succeed).

And despite Macquarie University (Murry Salby — wrongful termination for opposing the AGW gang) and JCU,

Free Australia 🇦🇺 is and will rise again!


“Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”


Patrick MJD
Reply to  Janice Moore
October 12, 2021 11:06 pm

Free Australia? Not going to happen. If state Govn’ts can blatantly breach Feral, Commonwealth and UN acts/laws, we are in prison here. Hate to be living in Victoria right now.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 13, 2021 12:14 am

Precedent allowed the states to close the borders For a dangerous disease. In spite of what the Constitution says of free and open borders.
US Constitution likewise has has Supreme Court precedent which allowed various restrictions. Pandemics and dangerous diseases are not a new thing

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Duker
October 13, 2021 12:30 am

So dangerous that 99.8% of people who contracted SARS-COV-2 and developed COVID-19 recovered. The states are in breach of at the very least the 1988 Privacy Act.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 13, 2021 12:53 pm

If you are so sure, your medical qualifications will win them over in court.

More likely you dont anything like the academic background of Dr Ridd and his lifelong study of the barrier reef

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Duker
October 13, 2021 7:21 pm

I have 5 Australian trained family related medical professionals and 1 non-related Associate Clinical Professor to call on. They are all saying the same thing. They can’t be all wrong can they?

Eric Vieira
Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 14, 2021 1:36 am

Unfortunately the “real professionals” are only the ones who embrace de decisions of the State. The others will be either ignored, defamed or their licenses taken away …

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Eric Vieira
October 14, 2021 4:25 am

All of the people I mention are keeping quiet professionally for exactly that reason.

Reply to  Duker
October 13, 2021 1:10 pm

Rights that can be suspended for any reason are not rights.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 13, 2021 4:25 am

its pretty foul, take my word for it

Patrick MJD
Reply to  ozspeaksup
October 13, 2021 7:22 pm

I didn’t say it wasn’t. I said there is a 99.8% recovery rate which is well documented.

Reply to  Giordano Milton
October 12, 2021 7:59 pm

But, we, as a race (humans) have seen this before

A few weeks ago I had commented about the vital need to revisit the saga of Trofim Lysenkoto understand the current era. In that case, the USSR’s foremost geneticist was removed from his university position and reassigned to work as a forestry warden in the taiga of Siberia.

I think we have come to assume as a “norm” that universities are places to pursue free and open inquiry, because that is all that we have ever known. However, the story of Lysenko will put that assumption to rest and help one appreciate the uniqueness of the “Era of Academic Freedom” that we just lived through.

This case sheds a whole new light on the “97% consensus” and the peer review process. Now one has to really think about how to respond to a peer review request… and imagine what might happen should one of your negative reviews end up in the hands of an university administrator.

After witnessing this outcome, my inclination now is to be much more cautious.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Anon
October 13, 2021 5:21 am

Most of the Universities of today, in the Western Democracies, have been taken over by radical leftists.

Radical Leftists ruin everything they touch.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Anon
October 13, 2021 9:40 am

I have just learned that the university I attended has just instituted what may be the most draconian and totalitarian anti-WuFlu policy of any school in the entire USA. They have decreed that any person entering a campus building who lacks the correct number of gene therapy injections is to be arrested and charged with trespassing.

What is ironic is that this school has (or had) a strong microbiology department.

I am very glad I have never contributed any money to this outfit.

To bed B
Reply to  Giordano Milton
October 12, 2021 8:01 pm

This is not the same thing. A lot of erroneous stuff is written about Bruno, such as this from Encyclopedia Britannica
“Italian philosopher, astronomer, mathematician, and occultist whose theories anticipated modern science.”
Or from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
“Dismissing contemporary claims that Copernicus’s hypothesis was merely a convenient computational device, Bruno announced that it disproved the traditional Aristotelian-Ptolemaic picture of the cosmos.”

Modern science took the accepted Ptolemaic system and Copernicus’ final system, with many more epicycles than the former, and observed how well they predicted the movement of planets. Both sucked equally badly. The Copernicus system was accepted by two Popes at the time and rejected well after his death because, firstly, it actually was no better, then because it could be used against Church teachings. Something Kepler did not have to deal with even though working at a Catholic University.

This pushing the Bruno barrel seem to have hard separating science from sci-fi.

Leo Smith
Reply to  To bed B
October 13, 2021 2:38 am

I think the issue is that if you take the accepted equations of planetary motion and instead of (arbitrarily) using the largest mass in the Solar System as your arbitrary datum, you take the Earth, what comes out of the mathematical transforms is – epicycles!

This is the fundamental problem of science exposed by Hume’s ‘ problem of induction’ , and highlighted by Popper.

Namely that it’s results can never be known to be true, only to work. And that was the issue with the Church, which upheld the same viewpoint. Namely that the Truth, in the end, can never be a matter of Reason, but must always be a matter of Faith.

Until those Realists here accept this problem and face it, the defense against the climate change narrative is weakened massively.

Science is based on Realism, but Realism itself is, in the end, a matter of Faith.

One cannot defend science on the basis of truth content, only on the basis that it accurately predicts the future, i.e. that so far, it is not wrong.

And Realism has been falling apart ever since the beginning of the 20th century. Relativity, Quantum physics – both of these absolutely disprove the Realists metaphsyics, as absolute space and time, ‘analogue’ matter, and even causality have been shown to be inadequate and limited descriptions, suitable for rough approximations at the human scale, but in the end not adequate to cover the extremes of experience at either the macro or the micro scale.

The Church – c.f. William of Occam – has always understood this, and therefore the importance of providing a single value of Truth, laid down by Papal Authority, and upheld by all right thinking people, in order that the simple faithful would be free of intellectual doubt, worry and conflict. When nothing can be known for sure, just pick one thing and tell everyone that its really really true, because their elders and betters have declared it to be so.

Sound familiar? Of course it does, since the arbiters of Truth have ceased to be the Church, and have become the Marxists instead.

In short what has happened is that people’s intellects have lagged behind what science has revealed. Which is that the one Truth we do know, is that we cannot know any truth about the external world for sure. And that the only way out of this morass of uncertainty is not to pick on some arbitrary principle – Realism, Critical Race Theory, or Climate Change – and declare it to be true, but to grow up and accept that we live in an approximate model of a real world, whose existence seems likely, as a reasonable explanation, but which is not guaranteed either to exist in the way we suppose it does, or indeed in the manner in which we perceive it. It’s simply a good working hypothesis for now.

And that whilst Realism is a reasonably good working hypothesis at normal human scales, Critical Race Theory, and Climate Change are neither helpful nor true and make no predictions of any value whatsoever.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Leo Smith
October 14, 2021 9:36 am

A brilliant comment, Leo. However, such as climate science are homely, unworthy specimens to be included with physics. I agree with your point, though, that the Synod of Climate Bishops has chosen their preferred reality. They even admit as much when they refer to their choice as the 97% ‘consensus’.

With borderline science, history sometimes is more powerful than ‘science’ in serving truth. If your theory is that today’s temperatures are unprecedented and that +2°C will destroy the planet and its ecological systems, then a 5000 yr old, rooted white spruce stump at Tuktuyaktuk on Canada’s Arctic coast that required at least +10°C higher than today to have grown, completely falsifies the theory. (taking polar amplification into consideration gives a global avg T of about 5C greater than today’s).

A phenomenon of the brain informs us that it is a powerful seeker of truth. An example: a young wife of an acquaintance fell sick and died. The husband flew to her home country where she had family and many friends. A close friend had been having a recurring dream. She was at a party and asked where Mary was and someone said- Oh she was here a minute ago- and the friend looked in vain for her throughout the house. She told Mary’s husband that as soon as she saw him in the country, the dreams stopped.

Clearly, the brain was trying to ease her into discovering the truth. Psychological denial had a climate science example known as the Climate Blues. As the famous “Pause in T” extended beyond a decade, a number of climate scientists fell ill. They rationalized it was because they were staring the planet’s doom in the face every day and no one was listening to them. Psychologists treating them unfortunately had also bought into the doomsters stuff so they enabled their denial of their own brains’ niggling doubts. As a result these people fell very Ill and terminated their careers.

Remarkably, if you fight against your brain’s effort to give you the truth, you make yourself gravely ill! Of course for the patients, the pain they are avoiding is finding out that they have wasted over half their lives (education and research) on a problem that doesn’t exist.

To bed B
Reply to  Giordano Milton
October 12, 2021 8:20 pm

If you look into what Bruno proposed, he was not much different from Greta Thunberg. While he had a greater mental capacity, the truth was not what could be determined by careful measurements but what garnered a more enthralled crowd.

October 12, 2021 6:39 pm

A sad day Peter as the rebound of their GBR coral bleaching dooming attests. Don’t worry about the donations as it was freely given.

Cheer up as I suspect there’ll be a nuclear power Federal election coming which will no doubt throw the usual suspects off their game-
Union calls for local nuclear industry (msn.com)
There’s a majority now no longer averse to the nuclear power option and the current energy problems in the NH would no doubt be concentrating their minds.

Anything to keep their wacky hands off the levers of power-
Push to ban petrol powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers (msn.com)

Janice Moore
October 12, 2021 7:10 pm

WELL worth it, dear Mr. Ridd.

Every penny, every hour, every drop of blood spent in the fight for the noble cause of truth and freedom is always worth it. Always.

Our side (this wasn’t just your cause, you know) lost this battle.

We (or our successors) will win the war.

In the end, truth wins.

Every time.

THANK YOU for not giving up.

With gratitude and with admiration
and with prayers for you…,

Janice in the USA

Nick Graves
Reply to  Janice Moore
October 13, 2021 12:28 am


Janice Moore
October 12, 2021 7:23 pm

Thank you, Eric Worrall, for posting this. Peter Ridd could, I feel quite certain, STILL use financial support.

Many of us would like to have the privilege of helping him. Even small donations would give him moral support.

While the gofundme links ARE given above, for some, it may take an explicit invitation to be certain that:

1) Ridd still needs help; and
2) those links are, indeed, how to do that.


(preferably in bold and all caps 🙂 )

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
October 13, 2021 11:08 am


Ahem. Several of us have tried to make this happen…… no response from WUWT, so far….. so, trying again:

1) the above gofundme links are to DEFUNCT accounts.

💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥



Thomas Gasloli
October 12, 2021 7:29 pm

Australia, the only place worse than California.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
October 12, 2021 10:26 pm

It’s sad. I’m a 5th generation Californian, though never lived there as anything but a baby. My parents moved shortly after I was born, I grew up in Virginia.

But I have very fond memories from my childhood of visiting relatives, and visiting the cabin in the Redwoods outside of Aptos, CA that my great grandfather built. But now, I wouldn’t go back if you paid me.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 13, 2021 1:36 pm

Jeff, I have some fond memories of my younger life in California too. But that California no longer exists.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
October 12, 2021 11:08 pm

Well, more specifically Victoria in reality, but, yeah, not far off.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
October 13, 2021 5:59 am

Oh give some “European” countries their due, they’ll give Australia a run for its money…California too!

October 12, 2021 7:31 pm

I subscribed to Peter’s case and would do it again
Does it make sense to start another campaign to get he and his family back the300k they lost due to this politically resolved high court challenge?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Ardy
October 12, 2021 8:36 pm

I would certainly donate.

Izaak Walton
October 12, 2021 7:33 pm

This is hardly surprising. The english speaking world has spent the last 40 years (since Thatcher and Reagan) working to destroy the power of unions and workers and so it is no
surprise that there are no actual laws left to protect workers rights. Furthermore as has been obvious for decades there are no human rights explicitly protected in the Australian Constitution and while occasionally the high court might issue a judgement that there are implied rights this is happens very rarely. Plus of course the right wing government recently appointed a conservative judge (Justice Simon Steward) who is on record as saying that the right to free speech does not exist.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 12, 2021 8:00 pm

The Australian Constitution is largely ignored along with many Commonwealth acts and laws. And you have no idea what it was like in the UK before Thatcher.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 12:09 am

Usual far left mantra. Drivel. The left Blair/Brown and Clinton years didn’t change a damn thing. If Thatcher and Reagan were so bad why didn’t Blair/Brown re-nationalise British industries and restore the Unions excessive influence?

Nor has this case anything to do with ‘workers rights’. The question is academic freedom.

But the left will use any excuse to make the wrong case seem relevant with puerile appeals to the glorious history of their failures (of which there are many) and present themselves as martyr’s to the cause in order to gain sympathy.


Izaak Walton
Reply to  HotScot
October 13, 2021 12:31 pm

There is no difference between “workers rights” and “academic freedom”. As far as contract law is concerned Universities are just another business and 40 years of neoliberal doctrines have meant that legal protections for workers have been eroded to the point where businesses can hire and fire them at will. And as this case has demonstrated the same is true for Universities. If governments pass laws to improve the rights of workers then that will also by default include additional protection for academics.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 7:00 pm

I’m willing to bet that 90% of the things you call workers rights, involve demanding pay for no work.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 12:48 am

Criticising Thatcher/Reagan in that way says you have little idea what the world was like when they came to office. Without reducing (not destroying) the power of the unions the UK would have lurched on in internal crisis for even longer. We had an IMF bailout in 1976 – at that time the largest ever. Thatcher/Reagan were also instrumental for ending the cold war, bringing about the collapse of the USSR, the destruction of the Berlin Wall and freedom again for Eastern Europe.

As for me, I’ll always remember as a child the pre-Thatcher era. Everything nationalised, people left unburied for weeks, rubbish piling up in the streets, rats and the militant trade unions in control and trying to bring down the government. Oh, and I’ll definitely not forget eating my breakfast by candlelight during rolling blackouts and a 3 day working week.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
October 13, 2021 1:23 am

Well said.

Reply to  ThinkingScientist
October 13, 2021 1:30 am

And we’re facing much the same thing over the coming few years.

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
Reply to  HotScot
October 13, 2021 3:29 am

in Australia, too.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 8:06 am

Mr. Walton, it’s quite telling that you frame everything according to an ideological spectrum. Naturally, as a result, straw man arguments appear for non-existent people. Your assumptions about Thatcher and Reagan refer to imaginary Thatcher and imaginary Reagan created according to your ideological prejudice, not the Thatcher and Reagan according to history.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 6:59 pm

THe unions destroyed the unions.
Unions were never about workers rights, and were always about enriching those who ran the unions.

It really is amazing how the far left considers everyone else to be some kind of radical conservative.

Mike Dubrasich
October 12, 2021 7:38 pm

The Warmunists pick off people one at a time. Dr. Ridd is the latest in a long line of credible, professional scientists whose careers have been destroyed by decidedly non-scientist political terrorists.

Academic freedom is and always has been a chimera. What has been lost or at least damaged in this case are the truth, fundamental human rights, and freedom in general. Dr. Ridd is not alone; we all suffer these wounds.

Australia is currently a basket case, toxic to free people, but they are not unique among nations. Indeed, it is difficult or impossible to name any country where human rights are protected today. It used to be that the USA was the paragon, but no longer. We live in perilous times.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
October 13, 2021 5:50 am

We can still talk to each other, so there is still hope.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
October 13, 2021 2:32 pm

“We can still talk to each other,”

At the moment … don’t expect it to last, they divide/silence & rule !

I’m kicked into the long grass (waiting for approval) yet again !!!
can you please sort where the problem is … my end seems OK.

Do I have to unsubscribe & rejoin under another name ???

[There are no posts of yours pending. . . mod]

David S
October 12, 2021 7:44 pm

There is an evil force in the world which is trying to force people to accept whatever government tells them. Examples:
-The Peter Ridd case
-That there are more than two genders.
-If a man says he’s a woman then he must be treated that way despite the fact that he is physically and genetically male. So he can use the girls restroom, locker room etc.

Reply to  David S
October 13, 2021 1:20 am

It began with the belief in the ‘Long march through the institution’ whereupon academia was the first to fall to left wing ideology, spreading through schools, the civil service, local authorities and includes the insistence that young politicians should be favoured to ‘better represent the emerging generation’. Were/are not Blair, Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, Macron, Conte, Trudeau, Merkel and Johnson considered youthful, energetic politicians?

As you say, we now have the AGW wraith and identity politics driving unrest. Add to that race politics; malfeasance in US politics; the rise of left wing anarchistic groups like BLM and antifa; wholesale cancel culture; compliance culture; the lurch to the left by the media; hollowing out of police and armed forces; unrestricted immigration across Europe and America; a ‘pandemic’ soliciting a global, orchestrated response which is virtually identical in almost every country in the world including mandatory ‘vaccines’ and ‘vaccine passports’ (ID cards by any other description); and the wholesale assault on Americas 1st and 2nd Amendments. I’ll also add Afghanistan, who in their right mind thought that was a good idea?

A coincidence is bumping into a friend you haven’t seen in 20 years in a place neither of you have ever been before. None of what’s going on now could possibly be coincidental, it defies all the laws of probability.

Someone, somewhere, is pulling strings, nor do I mean an individual. As unthinkable a possibility that may be, we had all best take the probability very seriously. Democracy is being outflanked.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  HotScot
October 13, 2021 5:55 am

“Democracy is being outflanked.”

Yes, we see it coming.

The main problem we have is most of the News Media, the “Voice of Authority” in our society, are on the side of those trying to enslave us, not on the side of freedom and justice and truth.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
October 13, 2021 7:02 am

The media are the first to take fright when the tide of opinion turns against them.

The poor response of children to the killshots is a signal from the public they are not happy.

Sackings of Nurses and Teachers are signals to the public something’s wrong.

Shortages of food and/or goods will enrage people.

Immigration is worrying people.

Biden’s polling is testing even the faithful despite the media.

The media will not go down with a sinking ship.

Doug S
October 12, 2021 8:04 pm

Perhaps this is a good development for science professor Ridd. If you launch a third GoFundMe campaign, to make you whole again for 300K, I’ll be happy to contribute. In the spirit of knowledge and in defiance of ignorance, the “law” be damned.

Craig from Oz
October 12, 2021 8:24 pm

A very damaging win for JCU.

They have not managed to prove that Ridd attempted to publish ‘flawed’ research.

They managed to prove that whoever wrote up their workplace agreements knew their stuff.

Basically, “I don’t care what you have discovered, WE get final edit. It’s in your contract!”

Never forget that Higher Education is a BUSINESS. It exists to pay for the existence of all those who feast upon her bounties, not to expand the boundaries of human knowledge and the only real function within a healthy society may be to keep the unemployable out of the crowded job market for as long as possible.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
October 13, 2021 5:37 am

Aussie universities now on par with CPC run diploma mills? Looks like it.

Indian students will think twice before going $outh too.

Lewis Buckingham
October 12, 2021 8:25 pm

Could I have a link to the judgement.
Its not unusual for the high court to reject appeals.
They don’t make the contract, they interpret it.
The judgement may well be a better path to making the contractual and contracted rights of academics whole again, in plain language, rather than gutted out and covered with fine sounding appeals to academic freedom, where the hard words leave that bit out.
Over to the federal government.
Time for more leadership.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Lewis Buckingham
October 12, 2021 9:10 pm

Thre judgement does mention agreements written by interested people who are not lawyers and so less than perfect. I took this as a hint that these University agreements generally might benefit from professional overhaul. The decision mentions several times the Ridd tactic of going “all or nothing” and gave me the impression that he failed in part because of legal tactics. To me, Peter succeeded in airing the battle of woke versus science and he has my everlasting gratitude.
The Court seemed to be disappointed by the lack of nice legal debate about the deep meanings of intellectual freedom as if a Google search was inadequate and so needed their redefinition and a bigger place in history. There was little regard for the question of who was right or wrong scientifically, thankfully, for such material must be settled by the scientific process alone. Sadly, the Court just made this harder to perform. Geoff S

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
October 12, 2021 10:21 pm

There was little regard for the question of who was right or wrong scientifically, thankfully, for such material must be settled by the scientific process alone.”

But that’s what brought all this about. Dr. Ridd was concerned that the scientific process was being ignored or subverted, and I supposed he felt his only recourse was to speak out.

Reply to  Lewis Buckingham
October 13, 2021 4:55 am

The case is reported at Judgements- High Court of Australia,
You will quickly find Ridd v. James Cook University under current judgements.

Reply to  Herbert
October 13, 2021 6:46 pm

FYI: The High Court unanimously dismissed the appeal. The Court held that the intellectual freedom protected by cl 14 of the Enterprise Agreement was not a general freedom of speech. The exercise of intellectual freedom was subject to constraints contained in cl 14, including some adopted from the Code of Conduct. These constraints upon exercise included respect for the legal rights of others, and required that an expression of disagreement with University decision-making be in accordance with applicable processes, including confidentiality obligations. The exercise of intellectual freedom was not constrained by other Code of Conduct undertakings, such as respect or courtesy.

The 2016 Censure and part of the basis of the Final Censure were unjustified because they related to the expression of honestly held views by Dr Ridd within his academic expertise. The Final Censure was justified only insofar as it relied upon expressions of opinion unrelated to Dr Ridd’s academic expertise, and findings that he repeatedly failed to comply with his confidentiality obligations. Since Dr Ridd ran his case on an all-or-nothing basis, the termination decision was justified in its reliance upon conduct of Dr Ridd which was the subject of 18 findings of serious misconduct which were not protected by cl 14.

My bolding / Italics.

Jeff Alberts
October 12, 2021 8:25 pm

“Academic Freedom Just Died in Australia”
Along with personal freedom, thanks to Covid Monarchs.

October 12, 2021 8:32 pm

Well, there went the last bit of respect I had for Australia down the drain. 🙁

Reply to  ThoJak
October 12, 2021 9:32 pm

Yes indeed, it is now “down under” forever.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  ThoJak
October 13, 2021 10:24 am

Ah, but which way did the drain swirl?

JD Ohio
October 12, 2021 8:53 pm

As a lawyer, I find this is truly disgusting. Maybe some way can be found to set up a fund to help the victims of Leftie totalitarianism. (Please not gofundme or paypal which discriminate against conservatives. I personally would contribute)

Izaak Walton
Reply to  JD Ohio
October 12, 2021 10:24 pm

This not the result of leftie totalitarianism but rather the result of a right wing attack on worker’s rights. The lastest justice appointed to the High Court by Australia’s right wing government is on record for stating that there is no right to free speech in Australia. If you appoint people like that why are you surprised by the result.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 12, 2021 11:09 pm

You have no idea what you are talking about WRT Australia.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 13, 2021 1:24 am

You have no idea what you are talking about WRT Australia.


JD Ohio
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 7:34 am

There are seven justices on the high court. You only mention one. Additionally, Australia obviously has a totalitarian problem with its government in light of the extreme measures used to deal with covid.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  JD Ohio
October 13, 2021 10:25 am

Measures that won’t even work. At best they’ll delay the inevitable.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 10:02 am

Is he correct? If (as I suspect is true,) there is no right to free speech in Australia’s governing document(s), then his is a statement of fact. If he approves, that is A) reprehensible, and B) proof that he is an authoritarian stateist, not a free enquiry egalitarian. It is not surprising that state authorities appoint state loving judges, regardless of left/right ideology.
I find it odd that you focus blame on one judge of recent vintage. Did he hold a gun to the heads of the other members of the Court and force them to agree, or is he just one more sheep following the ZeitGeist rather than eternal principle?

Izaak Walton
Reply to  John_C
October 13, 2021 12:45 pm

there are no human rights in the Australian Constitution. The document itself is mostly concerned with setting out what powers the Federal government has and what powers the state government has. As such it is defective and badly in need of a rewrite or the inclusion of a US style Bill of Rights.

And I am not blaming any particular justice for the decision. But am trying to point out the direction of travel. Recent right wing governments in Australia have appointed similar judges (if less extreme or at least less vocal) and so this decision should come as no surprise. It is part of a decades long attack on workers’ rights that gives corporations increasing power.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 9:22 pm

1) organizing a business as a corporation is IRRELEVANT to its being a “just” organization or not.

You show your ignorance of business entity choice. A partnership, a “non-profit,” or a sole proprietorship can do all the things you so ridiculously blame “corporations” for.



Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 7:04 pm

To a communist, socialists are right wing.

Izaak is still upset that people are actually required to work for their paychecks.

H. D. Hoese
October 12, 2021 10:17 pm

Australia has an excellent group of researchers in the marine biology I read, mostly temperate area. We are in a period of acceptance of “science” advocacy that has been building up for decades, even activism paid for by government and some organizations. There is increasing pushback, even the editor of the Lancet has criticized peer-review. This just happened at MIT–https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10079719/Thousands-register-remote-lecture-Princeton-MIT-axed-outraging-Twitter-mob.html?ito=push-notification&ci=chFcOmMY6t&cri=-lPRkT_AO7&si=39616279&xi=cf9191ae-b25b-4130-a24e-88ede13cc671&ai=10079719

Victor Davis Hanson is a great history scholar who understands and is willing to carefully expose what is going on. Heard him on KTSA San Antonio radio this afternoon. Tomorrow he is taking questions for the Daily Caller Patriots. “Ask Hanson questions about his bestselling book THE DYING CITIZEN: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America or anything else on your mind.”

Credibility always persists however resisted, but requires stamping, or maybe he said stomping, out ignorance as one of our graduate students used to say going to teach class. He was German and knew their history.

Joel O'Bryan
October 12, 2021 11:03 pm

The worst atrocities of the 20th Century occurred because people of good conscience remained silent, not believing what the totalitarians wrote and spoke would actually happen. But did it. and then some.

10 years ago, I decided to “pass” on a career in academic science because I saw what happening from the inside of it in Massachusetts academia. The GroupThink. The requirements to conform to an ideology that had nothing to do with science or the truth. But exactly the opposite of truth, free speech,and scientific inquiry by skepticism of consensus.

Today I refuse to remain silent. I will not consent. I will not yield. I will not conform.


Doug S
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 13, 2021 9:36 am
Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Doug S
October 13, 2021 10:29 am


Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 13, 2021 11:48 am

Back in 1960 I was a graduate student at M.I.T. and at one point chose to take a course in psychology. I had to find a topic for a term paper and I found out the hard way that the professor was a confirmed and dedicated socialist and my propose topic was very politically incorrect! I changed it, but was guaranteed a mark of no better than “C” as opposed to the typical “B”. Anyway, I ended up with my degree in Industrial Management and made a regular donation of $100 annually until recently. It became all too obvious that, never mind the presence of Dr. Richard Lindzen at the school the were determined to support this global warming fear-mongering. Lindzen left, and I haven’t donated since.

Richard Brown
October 12, 2021 11:19 pm

The corruption within all areas of ‘climate’ science is appalling. This result, though bad, will hopefully galvanise the other real scientists and academics to rebel.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Richard Brown
October 13, 2021 10:31 am

It doesn’t seem to. Instead, they quit the scientific societies, thus allowing those organizations to say “all of our members agree…”

October 12, 2021 11:39 pm

If you want to see where we are heading, look at Australia.

October 12, 2021 11:39 pm

Although it won’t be reported as such, this does not change the central issue that the GBR isn’t dying off.

That is the ultimate victory we must all hold onto.

And for JCU, it means committed academics won’t be keen to work there. The question of academic integrity will hang around them like a bad smell.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  HotScot
October 13, 2021 7:48 am

One can only hope. Unfortunately, “academia” is so polluted with “right think” that they probably see this “judgment” as a “victory” for the “Cause.”

Patrick MJD
October 12, 2021 11:55 pm

I sort of had a suspicion this would happen based on my own experience in the Australian legal system, especially family law. There is no justice here.

October 13, 2021 12:12 am

One wonders if The Conversation will discuss this and how badly they’ll treat Prof Ridd if they do.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Bulldust
October 13, 2021 7:49 am

“One wonders if The Monologue will discuss this and how badly they’ll treat Prof Ridd if they do.”


October 13, 2021 12:14 am

I think the real takeaway point is that the University made a decision to enforce its terms of employment against an employee who was telling the objective truth but failed to do so against employees whose work was less than competent.
In making that decision it was acting from political motives which should have put it in breach of its charter, if there is one.

Barry James
October 13, 2021 12:23 am

That’s one more goal for Marxism. Universities in Australia have not been the fortresses of truth that they should be for many years. The convenient lie now rules the roost.

Mickey Reno
October 13, 2021 12:38 am

I’m heartsick at this outcome. The poor suffering deluded sods down under are going to have to get worse, perhaps even way worse, before they get better. Enjoy your blackouts and economic collapse, you fools.

It’s high time for an Australian version of Nigel Farage to create an anti-Armageddon, anti-CAGW panic political party that touts efficient, reliable energy, and thus efficient reliable economic growth to give the griffters [sic] of the political far left a more stark message and Aussie voters a more stark choice when it comes to choosing Senators, MPs and judges, not to mention university administrators.

God Bless you Peter Ridd for all the slings and arrows you have suffered for the sake of those of us who feel that CAGW panic is hurting the cause of free inquiry and free speech. If you want to run another GoFundMe and this time just keep the money to make up for lost income due to this unjust and foolish and short-sighted decision, I would donate one more time.

Brett Keane
Reply to  Mickey Reno
October 13, 2021 1:18 am

Peter, from a Kiwi, still backing you….Brett Keane

October 13, 2021 1:00 am

This is sad news indeed.
However my admiration for Dr Ridd is undiminished. He took the fightto the establishment at great personal cost, which was truly heroic.
I am pleased I made small donations to each of the cases and would do so again.
The fight must go on against governments and the establishment generally around the world who are accruing to themselves ever greater powers at the expense of our freedoms.
Paradoxically, sometimes a defeat can have a greater galvanising effect than a win. I hope so in this case.

October 13, 2021 1:12 am

Just a thought.
If this is about academic freedom of speech vs contractual code of conduct, doesn’t this mean you can still:-
A. Go after someone from a different university.
B. Publish first, forcing alarmists to be the ones to challenge.

A very small but important tactic proposed by Vaclav Havel is to hold authorities accountable to the law’s they create.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Waza
October 13, 2021 7:53 am

A. Not sure if they can’t still twist that as being “non-congenial.”
B. Publish is difficult when the Eco-Nazis are the gatekeepers to being “published.”

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
October 13, 2021 10:33 am

Which means he would be forced to publish in a “non-standard” journal, which would just be scoffed at and minimized by those same gatekeepers.

October 13, 2021 1:20 am

James Cook used his honest (sic) skills to meticulously map lands and name features, islands and coastlines from New Zealand to Hawaii. Cook left a legacy of scientific and geographical knowledge that influenced his successors well into the 20th century, and universities have been dedicated to his memory.
One of them, JCU, has now brought more than shame upon his name.

Malcolm Chapman
October 13, 2021 3:05 am

This is a sickening decision.

Thank you Dr Ridd for your determination. Morally, this is a win, whose consequences will maybe take time to emerge.

I have contributed as I could to the Go Fund Me campaigns. Peter should feel absolutely nothing on his conscience there – we contributed because we knew the cause was just and necessary. The ultimate failure in law directs our contempt at the law itself, and most particularly at JCU and its greasy defence of its interests.

I would certainly support another round of funding, if this could put Peter and family back where they were financially, before this began. I only speak for myself, of course, but I dare guess that most who have already given would be prepared to give again. Let us know. I am from the UK, if that is useful information.

WHERE ARE THE STUDENTS? From what I remember of being a student (c.1970), this is the kind of issue that would have had us out on the streets, howling down the powers that be, and fighting (or trying to fight, at least; we were naturally a bit naive) for the lone academic and for freedom of speech.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Malcolm Chapman
October 13, 2021 7:56 am

Sadly, “the students” today are the useful idiots that in the main will see this as a “victory” for the “Cause,” being willfully blind to facts, logic and reason whenever they conflict with the ideology they have been indoctrinated with.

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
October 13, 2021 3:25 am

Buy a copy of Dr Peter Ridd’s Reef Heresy. It is a brilliant expose of the climate change ™ “science” standards applied to Great Barrier Reef research. No wonder they wanted to silence him.

Malcolm Chapman
Reply to  Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
October 13, 2021 5:03 am

Thank you. I will.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
October 13, 2021 10:53 am

Thanks for the reminder. Just did (at Barnes & Noble — got free shipping 🙂 ).

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
October 13, 2021 2:29 pm

Thank you for the reminder. Done!

Ps. don’t buy it from Amazon if you can avoid it. No reason to give Jeff Bezos any percentage.

October 13, 2021 4:50 am

Is it any wonder that universities in the western world have been able to shut down conservative voices that do not follow the desired narrative?

October 13, 2021 5:57 am

Australia is now on academic union watch until such time that academic freedom returns there.

October 13, 2021 5:58 am

Start a new university with real research and academic freedom.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
October 13, 2021 11:52 am

Good luck. See how long the freedom lasts!

October 13, 2021 6:02 am

Australia has fallen. 🙁

October 13, 2021 6:11 am

The U.S. has better protections for academic freedom than Australia, free speech protections also.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
October 13, 2021 11:53 am

See my comments about my M.I.T. experience above.

October 13, 2021 6:15 am

So, JCU actions were technically legal. But it was, in my opinion, never right, proper, decent, moral or in line with public expectations of how a university should behave.

Unfortunately, Ridd never seemed to grasp that “public expectations of how a university should behave” is not the purview of the courts.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Weekly_rise
October 13, 2021 9:51 am

Where should he have tried instead, Weakly?

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
October 13, 2021 11:57 am

Apart from trying the legal question, of which the answer was fairly obvious to most, there was nothing else to be done, here. Perhaps if Ridd feels the law is unjust he can start campaigning to change the law.

Reply to  Weekly_rise
October 13, 2021 7:08 pm

So a belief that universities should respect academic freedom and employment contracts is not something that is supportable?

Reply to  MarkW
October 14, 2021 7:46 am

The university honored the letter of the employment contract, according to the court.

Caligula Jones
October 13, 2021 6:49 am

I don’t necessarily agree we are living in 1984…but it sure sounds like we may be in a prequel.

Maybe it all started in Oceania…

John Kelly
October 13, 2021 7:56 am

Eventually everything that happens in the USA lands on the shores of Australia, maybe 5 or 10 years latter. I’m not a lawyer but I think this decision clearly shows that our High Court is now totally politised just like the Supreme Court in the USA has been for many years. A very sad day for Peter Ridd and Australia. And what is the Federal Government doing? Nothing I’m sure, aka Eric’s last comment here.

Andy Pattullo
October 13, 2021 8:29 am

JCU has revealed itself as a propaganda farm and does not deserve the title “university”. Whether people believe in a merit-based society or not, nature is unambiguously dedicated to the idea. If society doesn’t fix this it will ultimately be buried under the forces of nature and competition. When you make it your mission to sell useless junk and steal value from those you dominate you will eventually find yourself staring up at your former victims from a position of mortal risk with no means of defence.

October 13, 2021 9:27 am

It’s not just the death of academic freedom, it’s also the death of contracts.
The courts just ruled that the Academic code of conduct, which the administration can change on a whim, takes precedence over employment contracts.

If they want you gone, they just change to code of conduct, then declare that actions you have taken in the past violate the new policy, and you are gone.

Reply to  MarkW
October 13, 2021 1:09 pm

The court decided for Academic Freedom which allows robust debate. Its just that on other minor matters he lost.
I see it as hes lost the battle ( a close one) but won the war for others as the Academic Freedom precedent in the wording will be binding for lower courts throughout Australia

Reply to  Duker
October 13, 2021 5:58 pm

Duker, that sounds like a fanciful dream to me. We all can presume that the high court found the excuse to kill Ridd’s case and posited a piece of bullshit to shut up the noisy minority (in their view).

Stephen Skinner
October 13, 2021 12:26 pm

“We live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television-words, books, and so on-are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science. (1966)” – R Feynman
“Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.” – N Tesla

October 13, 2021 1:06 pm

An opinion column from a Law professor in the sort of left wing Sydney Morning Herald looks in the decision and is surprisingly sympathetic to Dr Ridd

. In a unanimous decision, the Court explicitly recognises the relevance of academic freedom to the dispute and concludes, relying upon legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin, that “academic freedom must permit expression that departs from norms of civility required elsewhere”.

It even suggest that had the case been argued differently or that Dr Ridd hadnt breached the confidentiality of the disciplinary hearing he could have won.
It seems that The Court loved the ‘principle of academic freedom’ but in this case decided it on minor and inconsequential items
Hopefully the precedent on Academic freedom which allows for ‘robust debate’ over the science will be of more use for others.
Thanks go to Dr Ridd for taking on the challenge to go all the way.

Gary K Hoffman
October 13, 2021 2:21 pm

Does anyone know specifically what was the contractual provision that was cited by the employer and relied on by the Court to justify the firing?

JD Ohio
Reply to  Gary K Hoffman
October 13, 2021 8:28 pm

Upthread a link to the High Court was made. I read about the first 10 pages quickly. Ridd’s lawyer took an all or nothing approach and admitted that he had engaged in serious misconduct — claiming that his free speech rights trumped all of the universities procedural rules. The intermediate court called this “inexplicable”, which was also the sense of the high court. Substantial parts of Ridd’s free speech arguments were adopted by the Court.

From afar the legal tactics employed can be questioned, which I am strongly hesitant to do not knowing anything about Australian law. However, the high court seemed to be questioning them also.

October 13, 2021 5:19 pm

Whistleblower laws should apply to government-funded institutions and incorporated bodies.
They don’t appear to do so, yet.

October 13, 2021 10:48 pm

Time to develop a parallel higher education system in Australia. It’s a pity we can’t replace the Justice System too. Both are broke, possibly beyond repair. I found the fact that there was no dissenting opinion among the High Court judges astounding.

Robert of Texas
October 14, 2021 6:41 pm

I just can’t express how disappointed I am in the Aussie justice system. Sometimes the truth is embarrassing to the University – that does not stop it from being the truth.

October 15, 2021 12:10 pm

If Peter’s former colleagues had an ounce of decency they would resign with immediate effect in support of academic freedom of speech.

Don’t hold your breath.

Brett Keane
Reply to  Redge
October 21, 2021 6:36 am

Between the South Tasman Sea, and the La Nina zones, such a cooling may soon occur that makes JCU look even stupider……. Brett Keane, New Zealand

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