[LINK] Academics branded 'anti-US over FTA research'

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Sun Jul 30 13:43:52 AEST 2006

>From: Antony Barry <tony at tony-barry.emu.id.au>
>There have been letters to the editor attacking an article on the 
>Middle East by Prof. Amin Saikal and suggesting he was in the pay of 
>a middle eastern country. I forget which one.

Chubb's piece expressly referred to both the FTA analysis (presumably 
Matt Rimmer's, or mine, or both, or maybe another that I'm not aware 
of) and to "a distinguished professor of Arab and Islamic studies 
[who] has been accused of bias because his Centre at the ANU received 
funds from [the UAE]".

Fred Pilcher <fpilcher at netspeed.com.au>:
>Does anyone know yet just who it was who made these phone calls?

Unlikely.  ("I received a couple of telephone calls suggesting that I 
"be careful" about generating publicity for this research").

A second reference is more specific, however:  "Concern about 
"ludicrously unbalanced" criticism of the FTA has recently resurfaced 
in relation to the funding of an American Studies Centre in 
Australia.  A sponsor of the centre is reported to have indicated 
that its role is to counter the 'anti-American' views that allegedly 
pervade Australian social sciences".  I'm not aware of  the details. 
Google finds a Herald-Sun Editorial on 20 June 2006 (but the URL's 
broken and uncached).  Google News finds nothing.

Chubb has achieved a great deal by leaving it vague, and seems 
unlikely to answer the question.  It's a warning shot across the bows 
of relevant people (such as Ministers and particular Senators, and 
the party apparatchiks and lobbyists behind them - and, regrettably, 
the more politicised among senior public sector executives).

It's not the first time that I've been aware of an ANU 
Vice-Chancellor doing something like this.

During either the Australia Card campaign or the ensuing parallel 
data matching program phase (I can't remember which), Peter Karmel 
was called by (I presume) Neal Blewett or Richo, or someone senior on 
their behalf.

Karmel rode the pressure.  I was ticked off for having used the 
unauthorised expression 'Information Systems Group' in the 
word-processed letterhead I'd written on (this was 1986-88 remember). 
And nothing more.

I considered Karmel's handling impeccable (effectively 'I do hope 
that when you use your University affiliation that you are uttering 
comments within your area of expertise, and in a considered manner'). 
It looks like Chubb is sustaining that vital tradition.

>Howard Lowndes wrote:
>>  http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200607/s1700428.htm
>>  The head of the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra 
>>says there has been an attempt to silence academics who are making 
>>critical comments about issues of public importance.
>>  Vice-chancellor Professor Ian Chubb says ANU researchers were 
>>labelled as "anti-American" after they released a study of 
>>Australia's free trade agreement with the US, which revealed 
>>adverse results.
>>  Professor Chubb says he received several calls suggesting the 
>>university would be unwise to promote the research.
>>  "You have to be a particular sort of person to put your head up 
>>over the parapet when it gets knocked every time, and labels are 
>>put on you that you are uncomfortable with," Professor Chubb said.
>>  "It's dangerous and I think it's pathetic."
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>Link at mailman.anu.edu.au

Roger Clarke                  http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/

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