The outcome highlights the power of collective action and the weakness of Murdoch’s attack dog.

The trouble began in mid-April, when Deakin charged Martin with “serious misconduct bringing the university into disrepute”, and sacked him. With assistance from the tertiary education union (NTEU) he appealed but remained suspended without pay.

The charge was related to a heated exchange on Martin’s personal Twitter account. The encounter started when Tim Blair, a right wing blogger and frequent contributor to The Australian, tweeted a snide comment about Martin’s “selfie” at Karl Marx’s grave in London.

Things escalated, with trolls hurling aggressive and homophobic tweets at Martin. He responded, “Fuck off, I’m busy.”

Within hours, Bolt posted on his Herald Sun blog a rant that grossly misrepresented the Twitter exchanges and retweets. He implied that Martin had tweeted the homophobic comments. Bolt’s objective was to highlight Martin’s employment at Deakin and to prompt the university to sack him.

Unsatisfied with the university’s inaction, two days later Bolt again posted about Martin’s position. This resulted in a series of complaints being lodged with the Deakin vice chancellor.

Outrageously, Deakin management buckled and attempted to sack Martin. The university’s cowardice in the face of a notorious anti-intellectual like Bolt exposed a lack of commitment to protecting the “academic freedom” of its staff.

Bolt’s modus operandi is built on “outing” Marxist and critical academics and pressuring our employers to sack or discipline us.

For the past two years, for example, Bolt has done this with a string of academics who have agreed to speak at the Marxism conference held at Melbourne University. Several of the academics named in his articles have subsequently received death threats.

This time, Deakin management’s spineless capitulation sparked an outraged response. Rank and file activists and academics initiated an open letter calling on Deakin to reinstate Martin.

Ahead of a planned disciplinary hearing - which was to confirm Martin’s sacking - dozens of academics, journalists and others sent letters of protest to Deakin’s vice chancellor. In less than 48 hours, more than 150 people signed. Among them were people with their own track record of run-ins with Andrew Bolt, including Henry Reynolds, Robert Austin and Barbara Ramjan.

Martin’s win reflects the weakness of the university’s case against him and the strength of the public campaign.

Only a week ago, all indications were that the university was intent on sacking this outspoken left wing academic. But the response of Martin’s supporters left Deakin with little choice but to beat a hasty retreat.

Congratulations are due to Martin, the NTEU and to everyone who moved so quickly to speak up on this issue.