The ever-eventful life of Tim Anderson, former Sydney Uni political economy teacher and, uh, what else is well know for?, has taken another interesting turn with the full federal court upholding his campaign for reinstatement, after being dismissed by Sydney University three years ago.
Anderson has been part of the uni’s awkward squad for years, supporting, and meeting with the Assad government in Syria, and taking students on a tour of North Korea, which he gushed about. Anderson is a firm anti-imperialist (ha ha stalinist), but it was the his use of a photo in class, in which the Israeli flag had been replaced by the swastika (there is claim and counter-claim as to whether Anderson made the graphic, or used it as a found example).
On that basis the Uni sacked him for offensive behaviour.
Anderson took the case to court, arguing for his free speech rights within his field of expertise. A federal judge found that right didn’t exist. The full federal court has now upheld that right.
Now Sydney Uni has a decision to make. Will it pursue this repressive persecution of academic free thought, started during the panic of a couple of years ago? Or will new vice-chancellor Mark Scott – who has had a use or two for the claim of free speech in the past – back off this embarrassing debacle?