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JCU appeals Ridd decision: James Cook Uni vows to waste more funds in quest to stamp out opinions

JCU protects reputations not the reef

PEter Ridd, Free speech in Australia.


Despite losing on all 17 points in a case that should never have gone to trial —

Sarah Elks, The Australian:

James Cook University is appealing a decision …  Federal Court documents reveal JCU has briefed one of Australia’s top barristers, Bret Walker SC, to argue it was legal for the north Queensland university to sack Dr Ridd last year after he publicly criticised its climate change science.

Physics professor Dr Ridd will on Monday launch an online bid for crowd-funding to help pay his legal costs, asking for an extra $1.5m, after supporters already tipped in $260,000 to help fund his unfair dismissal claim. Dr Ridd has spent $200,000 of his own money.

“It’s diabolically expensive because we expect it to go all the way to the High Court,” he said. “In the end, this is a battle for academic freedom. It’s about not allowing universities to stifle free speech.

James Cook Uni will dig deeper into taxpayer funds instead of doing research, in order to protect the reputation of overpaid bureaucrats:

Liberal senator James Paterson tells Alan Jones: “It looks like, so far, James Cook University has spent almost $2 million in order to silence the free speech of one of their own academics. “It’s an outrageous case.”  – 2GB Alan Jones and James Paterson.

What’s the aim here? To protect the reef or protect the belief?

This case has already broadcast to the world that no Australian academic feels free to express doubt over the climate cult. How many have come out in defense of Peter Ridd? Not even one? Ridd’s crime was to talk about the replication crisis in science, to question “trusted institutions” and write satirically “for your amusement”. He helped expose manipulated photos of reef fish. He’s exactly the researcher the Barrier Reef needs. Instead he’s been thrown out for being the whistleblower.

Because this is the high court, it’s potentially a bonfire of money about to be burnt. The only winners are lawyers. Taxpayers, skeptics and the environment can only lose if the case goes ahead. Before that happens, let’s run a campaign to ensure free speech at universities and to sack any VC that won’t support that.

Now is the time to outflank them. Let’s get all that money back into research, not yachts for lawyers.

Instant fix: No more Taxpayer funds for any university that won’t protect free speech

Here’s the campaign skeptics, scientists and taxpayers must run:

No more funds for JCU until it guarantees free speech.

This could all be solved so quickly. Since losing the case JCU has changed its employment contracts, not to give their academics the unequivocal right to speak freely, but to make sure they can’t. Enough is enough — all universities need to guarantee free speech in employment contracts or no more government funds.

It’s time Dan Tehan, Minister of Education said to JCU — no more funds for you while you waste it on lawyers defending a case that — even if JCU wins — only shows that it’s not the sort of institution the govt should be funding. Even if the taxpayer wins, it loses. The nonsense must stop. The bonfire of money shows universities, particularly JCU, have lost their way in Australia.

Trump has done this in the US with free speech, and it just took a tweet.

Trump Tweets, If Berkley does not allow free speech and incites violencfe on innocent people -- no federal funds.


In March 2019 that tweet became an executive order. Academics tried to claim that it made no difference anyhow, as campuses were already “legally bound to do so by the First Amendment.” But nothing in the first amendment says anything about funding. Australia doesn’t even have a first amendment, so we need this more than the US does.

Vice Chancellor, Sandra Harding AO earnt $975,000 in 2018. Her package must be over a million dollars a year now. The problem with paying her too much evidently is that she thinks she is more important than the scientists and researchers she manages. Giving her an AO (for what — wasting two million dollars and trashing the reputation of JCU?) has apparently cemented her delusion. She must go. If JCU loses funding it will force them to dump the incompetent decision-makers who bear responsibility.

Follow the responsibility for this up the chain. The taxpayer is funding this debacle, so someone in government has to be signing those cheques above JCU admin. The Education Minister (Dan Tehan) is responsible for the kind of universities we have and the student funding. Research grants are likely also coming from The Minister for the Environment (Sussan Ley) and The Minister for Science (Karen Andrews). So there are three points to start asking why taxpayers are funding any university that will not guarantee free speech for staff?

Conservative politicians will go weak at the knees so easily, but we have to stop letting them get away with the easy option of giving in to the namecalling bullies.

Time to head the money off before it reaches the lawyers. Let’s fix the main issue: government funding is strangling science

Universities are so dependent on Big-Gov they have become a wing of it. None of them are independent in Australia. What do taxpayers want? Professors who talk propaganda or ones that tell us what their research shows? Without free speech academics are being turned into advertising agents whose primary role is to get more money from taxpayers. We know now that all academic research at JCU is worthless. Any researcher that finds anything “politically inconvenient” will not say so out of fear, so therefore the only thing we know for sure about JCU research is that any result or expert opinion may be cherry picked, skewed, biased or a lie by omission, and that if it is, no one at JCU will say so.

What does the reef need — solutions dictated by elite business managers or fearless discussion from experts that question every aspect and priority til we get it right?


UPDATE: The IPA is raising funds for the legal case.

To donate, head to Peter’s GoFundMe page at GoFundMe.


The Peter Ridd story:

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