Home | News | The fight for free speech: the battle for universities seminar – 21 November 2018

The fight for free speech: the battle for universities seminar – 21 November 2018

Universities are meant to be guardians of robust debate.

However, according to a recent survey, almost 80 per cent of Australian universities stifle intellectual debate by restricting free speech, raising questions about the roles and responsibilities of universities in providing a forum for open debate.

  • Are universities in Australia equipped to protect free speech?
  • Is academic freedom under threat?
  • Are existing university speech policies sufficiently robust?
  • Should you be reviewing your university speech policies?
  • Do we need clearer rules to protect free speech and open debate at universities?

These questions and more will be addressed in this seminar, hosted by Campus Review.

The seminar will include debate on the philosophical issues surrounding freedom of speech on campus as well as the legal principles behind regulation and conduct.

Who should attend: VCs, policy and governance professionals, university legal counsels, university in house counsel.

The seminar will be held in a purpose-designed venue at News Corp Australia’s head office in Surry Hills, Sydney.

CLICK HERE to register.


Richard Fisher AM, general counsel, The University of Sydney

Richard is general counsel and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Law at USyd. He was previously a partner at Blake Dawson (now Ashurst) for 25 years and is a past Chairman of Partners of the firm. He has been an international consultant to the Asian Development Bank and was a Commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission.


Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Marieke graduated summa cum laude from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2004 before continuing her studies at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 2008.

Marieke joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania as a legal fellow in 2009. She later joined the Philadelphia firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis as a commercial litigation associate. Before joining FIRE, she served as a Project Coordinator for the nonprofit Resources for Human Development, where she implemented projects addressing disability discrimination and health care reform.


David Baker, Macquarie University 

David teaches and researches ‘Big History’ a science and humanities crossover that covers broad unifying patterns over 13.8 billion years, from the Big Bang to modern day, covering cosmology, chemistry, geology, biology and human history. He publishes articles in both the natural and social sciences, giving him exposure to each of C.P. Snow’s two cultures. David has designed multiple courses for university, high school and public audiences. What concerns him most is the exploration of new ideas and continuing to improve the methods by which we educate future generations.


Matthew Lesh, research fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs

Matthew has undertaken extensive research on university intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity, and is the author of the IPA’s Free Speech on Campus Audit. Matthew is a regular commentator across newspapers, radio and television and his writing has been published in almost two dozen publications, ranging from The Australian and Daily Telegraph to the Sydney Morning Herald and ABC Opinion. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (with Honours) from the University of Melbourne, and a Masters in Public Policy and Administration at the London School of Economics.


Marguerite Johnson, Professor of Classics at The University of Newcastle

Marguerite Johnson researches and teaches the cultural histories of the ancient Mediterranean. A comparative scholar, she is also involved in Australian cultural histories, especially twentieth- and twenty-first century histories of gender, sexuality, feminism and LGBTIQ rights. She is a regular media commentator, including writing for The Conversation and the Australian Book Review, and providing interviews for ABC news and radio.


Sharon Bell, Deputy Vice Chancellor Strategy and Planning at Western Sydney University and Honorary Professor at the Australian National University

Professor Sharon Bell is an academic leader with over twenty-five years of leadership experience in the Australian higher education sector. Professor Bell holds a PhD from the University of Sydney in Anthropology and began her career as an ethnographic filmmaker at Film Australia and subsequently became Head of Studies at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. Professor Bell is a regular contributor to the Higher Education supplement of The Australian and also to The Conversation. Her commentary focuses on higher education policy and equity in the higher education sector. She is also an Emeritus Professor at the University of Wollongong.


DATE: 21 November 2018

TIME: 9.00am to 4.30pm

LOCATION: 2 Holt street, Surry Hills NSW

COST: $495.00


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