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JCU in Court for adverse actions against academic freedom

Climate blogger Jennifer Marohasy provides an interesting report on Dr Peter Ridd’s case against James Cook University in the Federal Circuit Court. Ridd’s employment as an academic of the university was terminated in May due to him speaking out and defying a gag order imposed by the university.

Marohasy provides the following circumstances of Dr Ridd’s dismissal:

“Dr Ridd spoke out initially about there being no quality assurance of Great Barrier Reef science – science that is arguably misused to secure billions of dollars of tax-payer funding. When the University tried to stop Dr Ridd doing this, Dr Ridd spoke out against University management – making all the documentation public including on his new website.”

This case raises questions about academic freedom and the tolerance of universities towards those who dissent from the majority opinion on climate change.

Whilst the Court has declined to reinstate the professor, it does appear that his claim is based on alleged adverse actions in contravention of section 340 of the Fair Work Act 2009, as well as an alleged breach of the enterprise agreement by JCU.

The presiding judge is Judge Jarrett. Judge Jarrett in 2016 famously found in favour of three students at the Queensland University of Technology who had been sued for allegedly contravening section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Posted on Categories Human rights, Industrial relations, Liberty, Unfair dismissalTags , , , , , ,

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