Alan Tudge
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

The Morrison government has introduced new laws which Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge says will “protect academic freedom and freedom of speech” at universities.

The bill amends the Higher Education Support Act to insert the terms “freedom of speech” and “academic freedom”. It also adopts a longer definition of academic freedom proposed by former High Court chief justice Robert French.

All in all, it’s some relatively trivial tinkering -- “not highly significant”, Australian National University higher education expert Andrew Norton said. And it means that a long-running culture war over free speech on campus ends with something of a whimper.