-The University of New South Wales recognizes academic freedom in its code of conduct and protects freedom of thought in its agreement on university staff (paragraph 23). There are other real concerns about freedom of expression in universities. For example, in 2017, the media reported that some universities had been put under pressure to censor material that could disrupt the relatively high number of Chinese students studying here. An Australian academic was also arrested in China and questioned by authorities. Others have criticized the broad influence of states and undemocratic political cultures on Australia`s internationalized university system. All this given that Australia has a multitude of issues related to freedom of expression. The government has also launched its first attempt to assess the impact of university research on the wider community. Adams also says that the union`s objectives across the country, including improving job security for temporary and casual workers, as well as improving redundancy provisions, are being achieved. Management`s agreement to extend the 17 per cent superannuation to all permanent employees is consistent with the results of negotiations at other universities. The EU and the management of the University of Melbourne have reached an agreement on the working conditions of a new enterprise agreement, including a pay rise for compromises. However, management proposes to change the terminology of the enterprise agreement from the current recognition of intellectual freedom as a fundamental principle of the university (Article 10) to a shorter recognition of the obligation for the University of Academic Freedom, as stipulated by its Council regulations.
Some University of Melbourne employees are going on strike today. The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) says the strike covers two issues, one of which is academic freedom. The other is management`s attempt to develop two separate enterprise agreements, one for academic staff and one for professional staff. The union argues that the university is trying to remove from the agreement the current protection of academic and intellectual freedom. If that is the case, it might be the first time that a strike has taken place at an Australian university because of this particular issue. Branch President Steve Adams says the union has hebuffed a management push for separate agreements for academic and professional staff and stopped “the removal of academic freedom from the agreement, (management has long argued the university explicitly protects free speech). A copy of the Australian Catholic University Staff Enterprise Agreement 2017-2021 (PDF, 1.9MB) (agreement) is now available. The agreement came into force on December 25, 2018 and has a nominal expiry date of June 30, 2021. And rightly so. For example, in 2016, academic Roz Ward was temporarily suspended from La Trobe University for calling the Australian flag a racist, which many saw as an extension of the university.
She was quickly reinstated. These agreements have led to the protection of academic freedom – also known as intellectual freedom – in all Australian universities, often through a combination of governance policies and enterprise agreements.