On Friday former prime minister John Howard will be honoured with an honorary doctorate by the University of Sydney for his work as prime minister, but some staff are trying to stage a protest outside the ceremony. The university’s chancellor, Belinda Hutchinson, has told The Australian that Howard is being honoured for his “world-leading gun law reforms and leadership in East Timor, as well as his engagement on behalf of Australia with Indonesia and China and contribution to economic reform”. Those opposed to the honour say in a letter it would be an insult to “Indigenous people, refugees, and anyone committed to multiculturalism, peace and social progress in this country and in the world”.

Ms Tips understands the letter is circulating around Sydney Uni, with senior staff as signatories. Former prime minister Bob Hawke will also be conferred the honour later this year, but it is unclear if he will face any protests.