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Monday, 26 November 2018
Page: 11280

Higher Education

We the undersigned petitioners are concerned about the lack of free speech in Australian universities. Denying students, the opportunity to engage in a robust discussion of ideas is, in fact, denying the genesis and role of the institutions themselves. Recently there have been calls in the media for universities to rethink their policies on free speech, especially in the humanities and social science sectors. Recently, a series of visiting guest speakers at Universities have been de-platformed, tours cancelled, students and members of the public abused, assaulted and prevented from entering venues and attending lectures. Taxpayer-funded education institutions must provide a platform to debate ideas and opinions. In addition, educational institutions should be expected to fulfill their charter and apply their own Codes of Conduct. A failure to do so, is a failure of both the institution and the government.

We therefore ask the House to review funding for institutions who fail to allow free speech, fail to fulfill their charter, and who fail to apply their own Codes of Conduct. When breaches occur, such as have recently occurred, preventing freedom of speech on university campuses, these should be met with punitive measures including withholding funding until such time breaches are addressed and remedied.

from 317 citizens (Petition No. EN0747)