Media Release: New Legislation Defends Academic Freedom
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) congratulates the Gillard government for guiding the Higher Education Support Amendment (Demand Driven Funding System and Other Measures) Bill 2011 through Parliament.
Overshadowed by other Higher Education amendments passed by the Senate yesterday was an important first for Australian tertiary education - provisions which acknowledge the responsibility of Australian universities to protect and promote ‘free intellectual inquiry for students, researchers and teachers’.
“This provides a legislative foothold for the widely-held view that it is in the public interest for the principle of free intellectual inquiry to apply to all learning, teaching and research activities at Australian universities,” stated Jeannie Rea, NTEU President.
“It is the NTEU’s view that the introduction of these requirements will also enhance integrity, transparency and autonomy in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge.”
“NTEU would also point out to universities in receipt of public funding that Section 19-115 of the Higher Education Support Act (2008) will now require them to have a policy that upholds free intellectual inquiry in relation to learning, teaching and research.”
“Policies that restrict researchers’ decisions as to where or how to publish, or not publish, would therefore not be in the spirit of free intellectual inquiry,” Jeannie Rea added.
“In this sense these changes are very timely, as it has come to NTEU’s attention that a number of universities have policies that continue to use the now abandoned and discredited ERA journal rankings for the purposes of recruitment, probation, performance management, workload management and promotion.”
Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President, 0434 609 531
Paul Kniest, Policy and Research Coordinator, 0418 170 622