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Greens help protect academic freedom in Education


9 October 2001

Greens help protect academic freedom in Education Amendment Bill

The Green Party has given conditional support to the Education Amendment Bill in exchange for two amendments.

These provide safeguards for academic freedom by restricting the conditions under which a minister can dissolve a tertiary council and impose a commissioner, and requiring a review of these measures within five years.

Green Party Tertiary Education Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos said the Greens shared the concerns of the tertiary sector over the originally proposed grounds on which a commissioner could dissolve and replace a council.

"We have agreed to support this bill on the condition that the Government amend it so a commissioner can only be appointed when an institution can no longer pay its debts, and on the condition that this legislation is reviewed and reported back to parliament in five years time," said Nandor.

"This preserves the independent role of university and polytech councils and makes the imposition of a commissioner a last ditch option," he said.

"Tertiary institutions have been worried about the threat to their academic freedom and independence if the Government can get rid of councils and appoint their own people. We shared those concerns and have worked with the government to address them."

Nandor said it was important that the changes in the Education Amendment Bill be properly reviewed to see how they were working and the findings be reported back to parliament in five years time.

The Government has now presented a supplementary order paper that contains these two amendments.

ENDS


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