Thursday, October 29, 2020

A contempt of Parliament?

Back in July, Professor Anne-Marie Brady warned Parliament about foreign interference in New Zealand elections. Now, her employer is attempting to punish her for it:

Canterbury University China expert Professor Anne-Marie Brady has been gagged by her employer while a review into her research proceeds.

The review conducted by two academics and two members of the university’s council began in August after Brady’s paper – Holding a Pen in One Hand and Gripping a Gun in the Other – sparked complaints from two New Zealand universities and several individual academics.

The paper outlined how universities, academics and businesses could be inadvertently helping the Chinese Community Party by collaborating with Chinese agencies in hi-tech research.


Brady, whose research into the Chinese Government’s efforts to influence Western democracies has won her international recognition, presented the paper as a supplementary submission to Parliament’s justice select committee earlier this year.

[Emphasis added]

If this paper had simply been published in a journal, this would just be an example of academics and universities dependent on Chinese funding trying to ruin the career of someone critical of their foreign patron. That's shitty enough, but the fact that the paper was presented as a submission to Parliament - and the review is explicitly about that submission - makes this far more serious. McGee is crystal clear about this: attempting to punish a parliamentary contribution in any way constitutes contempt of the House. The classic example is TVNZ, which told its chief executive that their evidence to a select committee was "misconduct"; they were fined and forced to apologise. If the University of Canterbury continues with its "review", they may find themselves in a similar situation.