Brickbat: Down Under


An Australian court has found James Cook University, a public university in Australia, unlawfully fired professor Peter Ridd for criticizing research on the impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef. Ridd had questioned whether photos which some scientists claimed show the deteriorating health of the Great Barrier Reef may be misleading.

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  1. “We disagree with the judgment and we maintain we have not taken issue with Dr Ridd’s nor any other employee’s rights to academic freedom,” Cocklin said in a statement.

    “Dr Ridd was not sacked because of his scientific views. Dr Ridd was never gagged or silenced about his scientific views, a matter which was admitted during the court hearing.”

    At least the uni was smart enough not to put on paper the real reason he was fired.

  2. Townsville, QL, the location of James Cook University, has never gotten enough credit for its truly ridiculous name. Even the Powerpuff girls’ use of the name never really moved the needle on this. One could argue that Robert Towns Could have done better, but does any honest person truly think the lame “Townstown” is actually funnier.

    1. Townsburg.

  3. Seems to me that if the university wanted him to stay fired, they should have revealed in court the real reason they did it, if it wasn’t due to his questioning dogma.

    That they didn’t suggests either that it was because of his heretical view (which means they are now perjuring themselves), or it was for some reason they can’t actually admit, such as because of his race or something.

    Either way, does he really want his job back at a place like that? I hope he just gets back pay and damages while he finds a better position.

    1. “a place like that”

      You mean planet Earth?

      1. Troll Alert

  4. Judge Vasta said the university has not understood the whole concept of intellectual freedom.

    It’s happening over there too, eh?

  5. Thank you:

    A very brief brief:

    1. Ridd questioned the university’s quality of research on the GBR, specifically by Prof Hughs [his dept chair]
    2. Ridd sent and email to a journalist [Michael] re his concerns
    3. The journalist forwarded the email [!?] to Prof Hughs and asked for his comments [NEVER trust a journalist!]
    4. Hughs complained to the Univ Chancellor Concklin
    5. Ridd then wrote a book, and appeared on a TV interview
    6. Hughs got wind of it and complained to the Senior Vice Chacellor Concklin that Ridd was publicly trashing the Univ
    7. The Univ HR told Ridd this was a prima facie case of misconduct
    8. Ridd lawyered up and there was much correspondence between the parties
    9. The Univ alleged that Ridd, via his emails, had breached confidentiality.
    10. He was fired

    1. Watts Up With That? has had some coverage. There are probably other sites too.

    2. Of course it was Ridd pointing out Hughs’ shoddy research that trashed the Univ, not Hughs’ shoddy research.

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