Senate debates

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Documents

Australian Research Council; Order for the Production of Documents

3:54 pm

Photo of Kim CarrKim Carr (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) Share this | Hansard source

The former minister for education, Senator Birmingham, did not explain why he vetoed 11 grant applications for humanities and social science research projects recommended by the ARC. He still has not done so, apart from sneering at project titles. The applicants only found out what happened when the ARC confirmed the former minister's decisions at Senate estimates. They are all eminent scholars, but the arbitrary rejection of their work affects their reputations and career prospects. The present minister, Mr Tehan, has proposed a national interest test for applicants, without explaining why a further test is needed beyond that already contained in the application process. As all the research community has recognised, political interference threatens the independence and integrity of the peer review grants process. It is an established principle that politicians should not decide on funding of individual grant projects. The government should recommit and prevent further harm to the standing of Australia's research institutions. (Time expired)

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