campus free speech
(Image: AAP/Paul Miller)

When conservative commentator Bettina Arndt gave a talk at the University of Sydney last year, claiming feminists were over-inflating rates of sexual assault on campus, she was met by protesters. Activists stood at the door to the student Liberal Club event, blocking the 40 or so attendees from entering. People charged, the riot squad arrived, and the event became fodder for conservatives alleging a growing free speech crisis on Australian campuses.  

Since then the Morrison government has launched what many call a war on campus activism. In a move criticised by Universities Australia and vice-chancellors across the country, Education Minister Dan Tehan announced a review last November into whether there is sufficient protection of free speech at universities. The review is being led by former chief justice of the High Court Robert French.