Peter Reed loses Supreme Court case over blame from climate skepticism

As a result, the judges said that the initial 2016 censure against Dr. Reid was unjustified and cited famous 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill in their reasoning.

While banning disrespectful and indecent conduct in intellectual expression might be “a convenient scheme for bringing peace to the intellectual world,” the judges said, “the price paid for this kind of intellectual appeasement, is the sacrifice of all moral courage to the human mind.”

However, this did not result in an overall victory for Dr. Reid because the court found that his conduct extended beyond expressions of opinion in his field of academic expertise. If his behavior were only related to his area of ​​expertise or criticism of JCU decisions through prohibited operations he would have been protected by intellectual freedom. Since his case was on an all-or-nothing basis, that meant that Dr. Reed lost.

“This lawsuit relates to Dr. Reed’s conduct far beyond the censure issued in 2016, almost none of which was protected by intellectual freedom… This conduct culminated in the decision to terminate, a decision that was itself justified by 18 grounds of gross misconduct, which were not Any of them includes the exercise of intellectual freedom.”

The Institute of Public Affairs, which helped Reid manage his case through crowdfunding and PR support, said the decision showed Australian universities were mired in a censorship crisis.

Executive Director John Roskam said in a statement that also announced that Dr. Reed would be joining the Institute as an unpaid research fellow for science work.

Ahead of Wednesday’s decision, Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge announced that all 41 Australian universities are now adhering to the French Model Law on Freedom of Expression, proposed by former Chief Justice Robert French.


“It took two years to get to this point, but every university now has policies that specifically protect freedom of expression,” said Mr Tudge.

The federal government has also set out to define academic freedom in university funding laws — a push spearheaded by former Education Secretary Dan Tehan who said last year he had received Legal advice That Dr. Reed would not have been fired had the definition been in place at the time.

The definition, which was also based on language recommended by Mr. French in his government review of freedom of expression in Australian universities, includes “the freedom of faculty to teach, discuss, research, and publish and publish the results of their research.” and “to contribute to public debate, in relation to topics of study and research.” “

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