The problem the Ramsay Centre was a donor in disguise . It wanted full control of the educational and research program. Very different from other donors.
Abbott is an old dog too but with no new ideas. $500,000 wind farm experts provided no advice in two years
Lest we forget
“It was the Abbott government’s original idea for the University of Western Australia to host a think tank created by the “sceptical environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg, according to leaked talking points. The government will provide $4 million over four years to bring Dr Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center methodology to Australia at a new centre within the University of Western Australia (UWA) business school.”The Age
Abbott starts laying his own booby traps. “The key to understanding the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation is that it’s not merely about Western civilisation but in favour of it.” This made it “distinctive”. “This is an important national project.” The only thing to fear here was the dictum of John O’Sullivan, current international editor of Quadrant: “every organisation that’s not explicitly right-wing, over time becomes left-wing.”
In the schemes of negotiation, this did not play well. Australia’s national university was essentially being told that autonomy over the program – selection of staff, selection of students, and the program itself – would not be exercised by autonomous academics and officials within it, but by those without. Take the cash, but accept the strings. ANU Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt subsequently claimed that “academic autonomy” was at risk, terminating the conversation.
A group of academics at the University of Sydney, having gotten wind of negotiations being conducted between the Centre and their own Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence, claimed any collaboration with the Ramsay Centre “a violation of our crucial role in promoting a society of diversity, inclusiveness and mutual respect”. Their open letter deemed the enterprise to be promoting a “conservative, culturally essentialist, and Eurocentric vision” mired in “chauvinistic, Western essentialism.” Besides, subjects on western civilisation were already being studied “intensively” at the institution.