Friday, 14 May 2021

Freedom of expression on campus must be protected


A Bill introduced to the UK Parliament this week shares the same goal as my Member’s Bill and should be debated here in New Zealand,” says ACT MP Dr James McDowall.

Free speech on campus is critical. Fostering the ability of students to discuss and debate ideas is an essential part of higher learning.

“My Bill, The Education (Freedom of Expression) Amendment Bill will ensure tertiary education institutions like universities are funded by taxpayers for the purpose of freely and openly discussing ideas.

“Speakers shouldn’t be de-platformed by people who don’t agree with them.

“Tertiary education institutions are required by the Education Act 1989 and the Bill of Rights Act 1990 to uphold academic freedom and freedom of expression, but it is currently not a condition of funding that institutions adhere to these requirements.

“Essentially, there are no consequences if an institution actively inhibits freedom of expression without legitimate cause.

“It’s great to see the UK moving in the right direction with this legislation which has the same goal as my Member’s Bill.”