Senate debates

Monday, 16 March 2015

Matters of Public Importance

Higher Education

4:59 pm

Photo of Bridget McKenzieBridget McKenzie (Victoria, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

But it was the Howard government—$542 million over seven years. If only—through you, Chair—the former government had had such a forward-looking commitment to research in this country, we would not be here, because Senator Carr and all the other ministers that had charge of this particular area would have ensured over the forward estimates that it was funded. I tell you what: $542 million in today's money would not have been a bad start. But you did not do it, just as you did not actually provide enough funding in your forward estimates for the demand-driven funding system.

So here we are. We have been elected to fix the mess. The Commission of Audit backs our research commitment. I notice that in the gallery today we have the mountain cattlemen from Victoria, who will be speaking at another engagement this evening. They too back using scientific method to ensure that their impact is accurately assessed. Those of us who understand science know that the answer you get is all about the hypothesis that you propose. I would argue that maybe we have not, as a scientific community, investigated the positive impact that grazing cattle has on our environment, nor have we appropriately assessed the economic and social benefits. But we will leave that to another day.

I am absolutely sick and tired of the scare campaign, Senator Carr. Here we are. We are saying that we did not know that funding the NCRIS program was linked to our higher education reforms. Senator Carr, I do not know how many times you can ask a question in this place—


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