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Gov and Labor team up to protect research veto

Media Release
Mehreen Faruqi 21 Mar 2022

Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said that Government and Labor Senators have teamed up to produce highly flawed and misleading findings in a Senate Inquiry report into her private member’s bill that would remove the ministerial veto power over Australian Research Council grant funding decisions.

While the vast majority of evidence received from witnesses and submitters through the Inquiry supported removing the ministerial veto, the Committee recommends that the bill not be passed.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Despite an overwhelming majority of contributors supporting the removal of the veto, the committee majority have relied selectively on evidence provided by a very small number of witnesses.

“Politics has trumped good policy-making as both the Government and Labor have refused to concede their political power to interfere with individual research grants.

“This is a shameless attempt to retain unnecessary power over research funding despite enormous evidence provided about the harm that it does to our research and researchers.

“The Government and Labor’s contribution to this inquiry has been nothing short of insulting to the dozens of universities, researchers and peak bodies who provided evidence for the need to remove the veto power.

“Ministerial vetoes have been hugely damaging for academic freedom, research independence, peer-review and Australia’s global research reputation. They have been particularly harmful for early career researchers and for the humanities and social sciences. Yet the Government and Labor ignored these impacts when they teamed up to oppose the bill and disregard overwhelming evidence in support of it.

“The good news is that both major parties have now been put on notice: you are at odds with the Australian university and research communities who want to see this power gone. This is an untenable situation going forward. Politicians will have to come to the table sooner or later.”

Australian Greens Dissenting Report available here: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Education_and_Employment/ARCBill/Report/section?id=committees%2freportsen%2f024901%2f79507

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