Tim Anderson (political economist)

Tim Anderson (born 30 April 1953)[1] is an Australian academic and activist. He was a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney until early 2019.[2] and the author of several books on independent development and anti-imperialism. In 1979, he was convicted and imprisoned for an alleged Ananda Marga conspiracy to murder a National Front leader Robert Cameron,[3] but was pardoned in 1985 after an inquiry.[4] In a linked case in 1990 he was convicted for ordering the 1978 Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing and sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment, but was acquitted on appeal in 1991.[5] He subsequently became active in prisoners' rights and civil liberties groups, and has been involved with international solidarity and civil rights campaigns. He has worked as an academic since the early 1990s.

He was suspended from his post at the University of Sydney in early December 2018 for "serious misconduct" and subsequently terminated. In 2019 The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) joined Anderson in a Federal Court action against Anderson's dismissal.[6]

Academic historyEdit

Anderson obtained a BA in economics from Murdoch University in 1983, a BA (Hons) from Macquarie University in 1986, and a PhD from Macquarie University in 1997. He was a lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney from 1994 to 1999 and was a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney from 1998[7][8] until 2019.[2]

International and civil rights campaignsEdit

Anderson has supported civil liberties and prisoners' rights in Australia. He was involved in the Sydney-based group Justice Action in the 1990s which worked with the campaign group 'Campaign Exposing the Frame-Up of Tim Anderson' (CEFTA), whose newsletter 'Framed' was taken over by Justice Action and ran until 2004.[9] He was later Secretary of the NSW Council of Civil Liberties over 1998–1999.[10][11][original research?] Prisoners rights were a theme of his writing in the 1980s and 1990s, as reflected in his book 1989 book Inside Outlaws and part of his 1992 book Take Two, along with a number of published papers and interviews.[12][13]

He has campaigned in support of East Timor, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Palestine and Syria. Between 2008 and 2014 Anderson made a series of short documentaries on the Cuban training of Timorese doctors,[14][15][16] and the work of Cuban doctors in the Pacific.[17] In February 2017 Cuba awarded him their Friendship Medal "as an acknowledgement of his unconditional solidarity towards Cuba and its revolution".[18]

He has been a critic of what he sees as uninvited foreign intervention in Syria[19][20] including the use of foreign funded groups, like the White Helmets, to call for humanitarian intervention in Syria.[21][22] He has described allegations the Syrian government was responsible for chemical attacks as a "hoax", contradicted by independent evidence[23][24] and Assad as a "mild-mannered eye doctor".[25][26]

In academic writing Anderson stresses the principle of self-determination of peoples, in international law and the twin covenants of human rights.[27] Similarly, he calls his book on the Syrian conflict, a 'defence of the right of the Syrian people to determine their own society and political system ... consistent with international law'.[28] In 2016 Anderson and other academics established the pro-Assad Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies “after concern that many Western academic bodies constrain, censor and marginalise counter-hegemonic or anti-imperial research and discussion, due to their close ties with government and corporate sponsors”. According to Anderson, the organisation has no budget and is intended to compile a "virtual library" in support of sovereignty and self-determination.[29]

He has visited Syria many times during the war,[25] and attracted criticism for visiting in late 2013, while the Assad government was conducting bombing of civilians and hospitals, schools and civilian infrastructure in opposition-held areas of Syria.[30] The civil war he says is a "fiction" created by the United States "to destroy an independent nation".[29] In April 2017 he co-hosted a two-day conference on Syria at the University of Sydney, described in The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald as a "pro-Assad conference".[29][31][32] In September 2017, he travelled to Pyongyang and pledged solidarity with the North Korean people against alleged aggression from the West.[33] He also attracted controversy in April 2017 for using a series of Anzac Day social media posts to allege the Australian air force was committing murder in Syria.[26]

Ananda Marga bombing allegationsEdit

In 1979, Anderson was convicted along with Ross Dunn and Paul Alister to 16 years' imprisonment for an alleged plot by members of the Ananda Marga spiritual movement to bomb the house of Robert Cameron, a member of the far-right National Front of Australia. After almost seven years in prison the three were pardoned and paid a sum in compensation following an inquiry into the convictions in 1985.[34] However, in a linked case, he was re-arrested in 1989. In 1990, Anderson was convicted for three counts of murder for planning the Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing, for which Evan Pederick had been jailed the previous year. Anderson was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment, but was acquitted on appeal in 1991.[35] In directing an acquittal NSW Chief Justice Murray Gleeson said: "The trial of the appellant miscarried principally because of an error which resulted in large part from the failure of the prosecuting authorities adequately to check aspects of the Jayewardene theory. This was compounded by what I regard as an inappropriate and unfair attempt by the Crown to persuade the jury to draw inferences of fact, and accept argumentative suggestions, that were not properly open on the evidence. I do not consider that in those circumstances the Crown should be given a further opportunity to patch up its case against the appellant. It has already made one attempt too many to do that, and I believe that, if that attempt had never been made, there is a strong likelihood that the appellant would have been acquitted".[36][37][38]

The two failed prosecutions against Tim Anderson and his friends are cited examples of Australian miscarriages of justice, for example in Kerry Carrington's (Ed) 1991 book Travesty! Miscarriages of Justice[39][40] and in other law texts[41] including notes on compensation practice.[42][43]


In a 2008 entry published in e-journal The National Forum, Anderson claimed that Wikipedia has a "US-centric bias" on what sources the encyclopedia considers reliable and on what edits its administrators make.[44]

Opinions and responsesEdit

The Spectator Australia describes Anderson's book The Dirty War on Syria, as published by GlobalResearch, as "a book club gathering for academic crackpots and conspiracy theorists".[45]

In August 2018, Anderson was investigated by his university for defending a badge worn by a former colleague, Jay Tharappel, which said "death to Israel". Tharappel had been photographed wearing a jacket bearing the badge. Anderson described Tharappel as "a "Syrian solidarity activist" who was "under attack from zionists" and "friends of Israel".[46][47] Australian Education Minister Simon Birmingham described Anderson as an "embarrassment to academia" with "extreme views",[46] and the investigation was welcomed by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.[47][dead link] Anderson wrote to the Australian Jewish News after it published an article on the issue saying that he did not support the expressions that appeared on the jacket including "Death to Israel". He wrote that he had merely refused to censor a photograph in which the badge appeared. He also wrote that he "opposed all apartheid states" and believed the "racial state of Israel must be dismantled".[48]

On 5 December 2018, it was reported that Anderson had been suspended from his University of Sydney Senior Lecturer role for showing students material including an image of a Nazi swastika superimposed over the Israeli flag.[49][50] Reports indicated Anderson was given a week to show cause as to why he should not be dismissed. On Facebook, Anderson described the action of the university as "political censorship".[49] Anderson appealed against the university's decision to terminate his employment for "serious misconduct" with the support of several dozen of his colleagues. On 13 February 2019, it became known the appeal had been rejected by a three-member committee five days earlier by a majority vote.[51][52] The university said in a statement that the slide image was "disrespectful and offensive" and "contrary to the university's behavioural expectations and requirements for all staff."[2]


  • The liberation of class: P.R. Sarkar's theory of class and history, Proutist Universal Publications, 1984.
  • Free Alister Dunn and Anderson: The Ananda Marga Conspiracy Case, Wild & Woolley, 1985.
  • Inside outlaws: a prison diary, Redfern Legal Centre Publishing, c1989.
  • Take two: the criminal justice system revisited, Bantam Books, 1992.
  • with Gaby Carney, Defend yourself: facing a charge in court, Redfern Legal Centre Publishing, 1996.
  • Land and livelihoods in Papua New Guinea, Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2015.
  • The Dirty War on Syria: Washington, Regime Change and Resistance, GlobalResearch, 2016
  • Countering War Propaganda of the Dirty War on Syria. Damascus, New Dalmoun Press, 2017
  • Axis of Resistance: towards an independent Middle East. Atlanta, Clarity Press, 2019


  1. ^ "Tim Anderson v. Australia, Communication No. 1367/2005". University of Minnesota, from United Nations Human Rights Committee. 2006-11-15.
  2. ^ a b c Baker, Jordan (13 February 2019). "Sydney University sacks controversial lecturer over swastika image". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  3. ^ Dunn, Irina. "The Ananda Marga Trial" (PDF). Legal Service Bulletin. Retrieved 6 December 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Free Alister Dunn and Anderson: The Ananda Marga Conspiracy Case, Wild & Woolley, 1985.
  5. ^ [Julia Rabar, Australian terrorism born in the Sydney Hilton bombing, HeraldSun, December 20, 2012
  6. ^ "Lecturer Tim Anderson sues Sydney University over sacking". Australian Financial Review. 2019-04-17. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  7. ^ Dr Tim Anderson, University of Sydney, retrieved 2017-02-24 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Tim Anderson, The Conversation, retrieved 2017-02-24 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Anderson, Campaign Exposing the Frame-up of Tim; Frame-ups, Campaign Exposing; Authority (N.S.W.), Targeting Abuses of (1989). Framed. Sydney South : CEFTA.
  10. ^ "Sport and Human Rights" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  11. ^ "NSWCCL". NSWCCL. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  12. ^ "The 'loophole' in victims compensation" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  13. ^ Tim Anderson, 1995, 'Victims' Rights or Human Rights?', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, Sydney University Institute of Criminology, Vol 6 No 3, March
  14. ^ The Doctors of Tomorrow / Los Medicos de Mañana, retrieved 2019-11-28
  15. ^ The First Group / Los Primeros, retrieved 2019-11-28
  16. ^ Timor's New Doctors / Los Nuevos Médicos de Timor, retrieved 2019-11-28
  17. ^ Not really Europeans / No son realmente europeos / Cuban doctors in the Pacific, retrieved 2019-11-28
  18. ^ "Radio Havana Cuba | Australian Activist Receives Cuba's Friendship Medal". www.radiohc.cu. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  19. ^ Anderson, Tim. "The malignant consensus on Syria". The Conversation. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  20. ^ "The war on Syria has never been a civil war: Tim Anderson". Khamenei.ir. 2016-06-22. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  21. ^ "'Look a bit more closely': White Helmets Oscar win under fire". SBS News. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  22. ^ Olivia Solon How Syria's White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine, The Guardian, 18 December 2017
  23. ^ Chapter 9 of Anderson's 2016 book The Dirty War on Syria compiles the evidence on the August 2013 East Ghouta incident
  24. ^ Assad path ‘kept open by boffins’, The Australian, April 16, 2018
  25. ^ a b University of Sydney investigates tutor’s online attack on a News Corp reporter, The Guardian 12 April 2017
  26. ^ a b Michael Koziol Sydney University lecturer used Anzac Day to accuse Australian soldiers of murder, Sydney Morning Herald 28 April 2017
  27. ^ T Anderson, 2002, 'The political economy of human rights', Journal of Australian Political Economy, December, No 50; and T Anderson, 2003, 'Self-determination after independence: East Timor and the World Bank', Portuguese Studies Review 11 (1), 169-185
  28. ^ Tim Anderson 2016, The Dirty War on Syria, Global Research, Montreal, page 10
  29. ^ a b c Koziol, Michael (April 11, 2017). "'Syria hoax': Sydney University at centre of pro-Assad push". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  30. ^ "Academic with a murky past stirs fresh controversy with trip to Damascus". The Australian.
  31. ^ "Sydney academic to host twoday proassad conference". www.theaustralian.com.au.
  32. ^ "Sydney uni academic Tim Anderson defends Assad attacks Trump and Obama". www.theaustralian.com.au.
  33. ^ Sydney University’s Tim Anderson praises North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un during ‘solidarity visit’, Daily Telegraph, 4 September 2017
  34. ^ "Maleny man's Hilton bombing memories". Sunshine Coast Daily. 2008-05-25.
  35. ^ Deb Foskey (2006-03-07). "ACT Legislative Assembly Hansard". ACT Legislative Assembly.
  36. ^ R v Anderson (1991) 53 A Crim R 421. See also Tim Anderson's book, Take Two
  37. ^ http://lorikeet.and.com.au/t2/B3-CCA[permanent dead link][dead link]
  38. ^ Bolt, Steve; Mussett, Jane (1991). "The Time Anderson Decision - The Chief Justice Sited the System". Legal Service Bulletin. 16: 126.
  39. ^ "Book Reviews" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  40. ^ Carrington, Kerry; Academics for Justice, eds. (1991). Travesty! miscarriages of justice. Kensington, N.S.W.: Academics for Justice. ISBN 978-0-646-04164-3.
  41. ^ Russell Hogg, 'Who Bombed Tim Anderson'
  42. ^ "10th Commonwealth Law Conference" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  43. ^ Criminology, Australian Institute of (2019-11-28). "Publications search". Australian Institute of Criminology. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  44. ^ Browne, Marcus (12 February 2008). "Wikipedia accused of 'US-centric bias'". ZDnet.
  45. ^ Cootes, Timothy. "Assad's Aussie cheerleader". The Spectator Australia. Retrieved 1 October 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  46. ^ a b Koziol, Michael (19 August 2018). "Sydney Uni lecturer investigated for defending 'Death to Israel' badge". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 October 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  47. ^ a b Lecturer defends colleague, Australian Jewish News 24 August 2018[dead link]
  48. ^ Anderson, Tim. "Concerns letter to Australian Jewish News" (PDF). counter-hegemonic-studies.net. Retrieved 5 October 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  49. ^ a b Koziol, Michael. "Sydney University moves to sack notorious lecturer after Nazi swastika incident". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 December 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  50. ^ "Australian University Lecturer Expelled After Showing Swastika Imposed Over Israel Flag". Haaretz. DPA. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  51. ^ Powell, Sian (13 February 2019). "University of Sydney fires academic Tim Anderson for 'serious misconduct'". The Australian. Retrieved 13 February 2019. (subscription required)
  52. ^ Anderson had, by this date, exceeded the former retirement age at Australian universities of 65.