ALP commits to protecting academic freedom
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) today congratulated the ALP for keeping its promise to Australia’s university staff by committing to introduce legislative protection for academic freedom.
The commitment is contained in the Labor Party’s Statement on higher education, science and innovation, released today. The Statement outlines the ALP’s commitment to implement its higher education and innovation strategies contained in the 2009 Federal Budget, and includes the following on academic freedom:
Labor is committed to introducing legislative protection for academic freedom within the Higher Education Support Act, to protect the right of academics to pursue research, and publish and comment within their fields of expertise. (page 10 ALP Higher Education Statement of 19 August 2010)
“Dr Carolyn Allport, who is about to stand down after more than fifteen years as NTEU National President, will be especially pleased because this is an issue for which Carolyn has worked passionately for a number of years,” NTEU Policy and Research Co-ordinator Paul Kniest said today.
“NTEU also welcomes the announcement of the $21million program to be called Inspiring Australia, which will be our first ever attempt to develop a national strategy to engage Australians on scientific issues.”
“The announcement of 200 new industrial doctorates (PhDs) should also benefit Australia’s innovation capacity by strengthening the linkages between universities and industry.”
“While many of our members might be disappointed that there were no new major funding commitments contained in the ALP’s Statement, they will be relieved that, unlike the Coalition, a Gillard Government will not undermine our universities’ capacities to attract and support disadvantaged students by cutting a $¼billion from university funding over the next three years,” said Mr Kniest.
“NTEU understands that the ALP’s primary focus, if re-elected, will be to complete the unfinished business of implementing the higher education policies it announced in 2009.”
“We look forward to continuing to work co-operatively with a new Gillard Government in this implementation, especially around renewing the academic workforce, if this is Saturday’s outcome.”
For further information and comment:
NTEU National Policy and Research Coordinator - Paul Kniest - 0418 170 622