A potentially crucial blow for academic freedom and free speech has been struck today, with the High Court granting former James Cook University lecturer Peter Ridd special leave to appeal against his sacking.
Spectator Australia readers know the story of Peter’s dismissal for saying that because of systemic problems with quality assurance work from the university’s Coral Reef Studies centre was untrustworthy and his subsequent travails well.
What may be less immediately appreciated is the significance of the court’s decision.
The High Court does not agree to hear most cases. They consider cases that have a wider legal implication.
Peter’s legal team focussed today on the academic/intellectual freedom clauses in most university enterprise agreements.
Peter’s case will be heard later this year, but in the meantime today’s ruling not only represents a hopeful sign for academic freedom and free speech but also strikes a blow at the putdown used to dismiss the credentials and credibility of all those who question environmental absolutism: “The science is settled”.
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