Above is yet another example of Tony Abbott’s approach to ‘expert respectability’ $500,000 for ‘no advice’ in 2 years. Perception is all that counts. (ODT)
It was, declared The Australian’s resident theologian Greg Sheridan, “a pivotal moment in modern Australian history”. Was Sheridan referring to the arrival of the First Fleet, perhaps? The end of transportation? The celebration of federation? The landing at Gallipoli? The victory in the Coral Sea?
No, none of the above – something far more important: the Australian National University’s decision to end negotiations to establish a partnership with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. According to Sheridan, the university’s decision means that intellectual freedom at our universities is now imperilled.
This is hyperbole beyond the wildest imagination of even Gerard Henderson, but it shows just how seriously our national newspaper and its right-wing commentariat is fighting its culture wars. What was originally a minor controversy in academia has been blown up into a crisis of apocalyptic proportions. The Monthly
Western Civilization IS being taught at ANU, however, donor bribery such as the Ramsay Centre’s attempt isn’t being given the privilege to run its own tertiary course under the auspices of the ANU. The Ramsay Centre is trying to buy interloper rights to their own specifications taking them outside the bounds of what it is the ANU represents. Tony Abbott is on the board of the Ramsay Centre trying to do what he did with Dr Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Center (which has nothing to do with Denmark) to try to bribe Australian Universities to take on board and give legitimacy to his personal political bias on anti- Climate Change. All he was trying to do is provide respectability for a failing argument that was already being debated anyway. He failed and here he is repeating the same stunt. (ODT)
When one of his carefully selected directors, Tony Abbott, said the Ramsay Centre would be not only about Western civilisation but in favour of it and would have a say over curriculum design and staff appointments, he was merely following the script.
But of course the influence was supposed to be covert, not trumpeted in Quadrant – the idea was that the proposed centre could be justified within the umbrella of academic independence and autonomy, when in fact it could not. The Monthly