Group of Eight Statement re Fairfax Media report

24 Sep 2018

The Group of Eight has rejected reports in today’s Fairfax media (Saturday 22 September, 2018) that the new Federal Education Minister, Dan Tehan discussed with them the suggestion that students and activists who protest at a university event would have to pay for their own security.

Go8 Chair, Professor Ian Jacobs and Chief Executive, Vicki Thomson said the Board was pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with the Minister to discuss a range of issues including the economic value of the Go8, university funding, the importance of research, the value of our international education sector, freedom of speech and university autonomy.

“Notwithstanding that we would expect these discussions to remain confidential, at no time was such a proposal raised with the Go8 Board and if it had been it would have been rejected immediately for what it is – a threat to freedom of speech.

 “What we did indicate to the Minister was that our universities have in place procedures and policies to ensure that our students and the broader community who attend events on our campuses do so in a safe environment and that we were happy to share those with him.

“The Minister has subsequently contacted us to indicate that he was misrepresented in the media reporting. We will accept in good faith that this was the case. The Go8 will continue our commitment to free intellectual inquiry and public debate   on our campuses, conducted in a safe environment.”

Media contact: Vicki Thomson Go8 Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472