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

rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Sun Jul 30 17:16:49 AEST 2006

Roger Clarke wrote:

>> 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]".

Guessing that the "distinguished professor" etc was the one slagged in 
this Herald-Sun article by Andrew Bolt:

(original is gone, which is why I'm sending the repro link).


> 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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