Senate debates

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill 2014; Second Reading

5:07 pm

Photo of Barry O'SullivanBarry O'Sullivan (Queensland, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you for that, Mr Acting Deputy President. It was very effective. The higher education reform package also secures Australia's place at the forefront of research. It makes us competitive—

Opposition senators interjecting—

with an investment of $150 million in 2015-16 for the national collaborative research infrastructure. Just think about that. What a wonderful boost that will be to allow that to progress and make its contribution to these reforms.

There will be $139.5 million to deliver 100 new four-year research positions per year under the Future Fellowships scheme. What a wonderful progressive measure that is under the reforms. There will be 100 of them—all brand spanking new, polished up four-year research positions. Only the good Lord would know what will come out of that sort of investment. Even if we only get a productivity yield of 25 per cent, imagine the impetus to it will give to our nation and, in doing that, to our economy. These students who were yesterday on $50,000 a year will be on $60,000 a year and their repayments will be free as a result of the investment in the first instance, which is often a test that we apply in business before for we make the commitment in the first place.

There will be $42 million to support new research in tropical disease, which will be of great interest to my colleagues and I from the great state of Queensland where tropical diseases sometimes affect us. We have had little inflictions during the Queensland inquiry recently, where obviously the pollen from the mango trees had got to colleagues while we were trying to examine the witnesses. So this $42 million to support new research in tropical disease will be well received and supported by the good folk of Queensland, who do their share—and someone else's—in supporting the receipts of this nation so that we have sufficient money to lend to these absolutely privileged young men and women, bright young men and women, my nephews and nieces and all my staff's children. What a wonderful opportunity this is. I am having difficulty getting through this without being—

Opposition senators interjecting—

There are so many important things to bring to the attention of those opposite because, clearly, by the contribution made from the other side, they were not aware of some of these things otherwise there is no way in the world they would resist this legislation, as we saw from some of the crossbench.

Finally, I will close on the centrepiece, which is a $24-million contribution to the Antarctic Gateway Partnership because, as you know, I believe that wife beaters should be sent to the Antarctic—I said so a fortnight ago—and this sort of investment will make that so much easier for our nation, so it really is a double benefit—we get rid of the wife-beaters and we also support the Antarctic Gateway Partnership.

It has been a great privilege with very short notice to allow me to make a contribution here today. I hope it has had some impact on colleagues.


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