UPDATED: July 2018
It’s no secret that many, if not all, of Australia’s universities – particularly those in the G8 group – are very left wing. Much of the prescribed texts and course content, as well as the educators themselves, have open progressive biases.
This is highly unfortunate, to say the least.
In places of higher learning, intellectual challenges should be fostered and held up for examination, not shut down because they don't meet the sensibilities of a select group of students and staff.
This is an idea which has drawn support from think tanks like the IPA and eminent writers including Michael McConell, Sinclair Davidson and James Patterson. They identify several problems with the politicised university culture that today exists as a by-product of selective class materials and social conditioning.
James, for instance, calls out public servants and academics on their failure to substantively address real public policy issues:
‘To be fair, public servants do not escape criticism, as Shergold writes, ‘they find it hard to envisage how [the] path of discovery can be planned or mandated, undertaken to meet prescribed outcomes.’
James also criticises the ‘well-funded’ The Conversation, which laps up financial support from ‘some corporate partners, the CSIRO, the federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, and the Victorian Department of Business and Innovation.’
Sinclair gives us some shocking facts and figures about U.S. universities: ‘a recent US study found that 72 per cent of 1,643 academics identified themselves as being ‘liberal' in the US sense and only 15 per cent as being ‘conservative'.” He suggests that the figures are likely to be similar in Australia.
Interestingly, the article goes on to state that many (if not most) economics students have not heard of F.A. Hayek. Citing 1986 economics Nobel Prize laureate James Buchanan, Sinclair explains why:
‘He had “politicised himself, and for the wrong cause, an unforgivable sin in the intellectual atmosphere of mid-century.” That academic sin remains beyond the pale even today-at least for those outside the left establishment.’
Michael MacConnell goes even further. The progressive bias pervades the Hollywood film industry, albeit in more subtle ways:
‘Michael Moore can craft a movie that carefully and deceitfully mocks guns, pharmaceutical companies, or capitalism itself. How well made they are ultimately means little, as the bulk of people shuffling in and out of cinemas are not looking for a preachy, two-hour polemic.’
He has a point. There may not necessarily be a mass left-wing conspiracy, but there is a general bias that is beginning to extend from university campuses to popular culture. Concurrently, conservatives are being chastised more ferociously than ever before. It’s something we all need to be concerned about, especially when it’s beginning to stifle free speech and thought in our top centres of learning.
Here are just some of the countless examples of left wing 'progressive' students shutting down free speech in and around our universities in an attempt to enforce their own brand of fascism over our academic institutions.
September 2016: A large group of students protested against Sydney University's decision to award former PM John Howard an honorary doctorate. Police were again required to keep the peace and bar entry to the event to protesters.
September 2017: A small group of Sydney University students campaigning for the NO vote on Same Sex Marriage were surrounded and attacked by a large numberof protesters who had to be physically restrained by
May 2017: Student protesters in Sydney and Canberra staged protests, sneaking into a press event and attempting to occupy Malcom Turnbull's office and needing to by physically removed by police and security in both instances.
March 2018: A pro-life student group at the University of Sydney was heavily protested and their stall interfered with during the university's open week, with demands that the stall be removed and the student group disbanded.
April 2018: The opening of a new medical research building at James Cook University was disrupted when a group of students staged a protest against proposed cuts, one protester was escorted away by police to the sound of cheers from the remainder.
June 2018: Left wing students at the University of Sydney hold a loud protest against a new course in Western Civilisation while disrupting students having examinations, having been denied entrance to the building by campus security.
Marija Polic and Eliot Metherell are Research Associates at the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance.