University students will be asked about their views on freedom of speech on campus through a national survey.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan today announced the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) survey would be updated to include questions about freedom of speech.
The annual QILT survey receives about 500,000 responses from students, graduates and employers. It includes the Student Experience Survey which asks current students about their learning experiences.
“The Government is ensuring that Australian universities are places that encourage freedom of speech,” Mr Tehan said.
“That is why we will ask students if they believe their opinions are welcome even if those opinions challenge the accepted norms on campus.
“The test of our commitment to free speech is whether we can tolerate the speech of others, even when we disagree with what they are saying.
“Universities are at their strongest and most relevant when they provide a platform to a diversity of views and provide freedom from the pernicious threat of groupthink.
“Universities should be institutions that encourage diversity of thinking, perspective and intellectual style because that is how we get innovation and problem solving. They should strive to be places that foster the ability to listen to other viewpoints and where disagreement does not involve verbal attacks or threats.
“Our Government will work with the sector on what questions to ask to measure diversity of opinion on campus and whether students feel empowered to voice non-conformist opinions.
“Universities, students and the public should know if students and staff are afraid to raise certain topics.”