Senate debates

Monday, 18 March 2024


Australian Research Council Amendment (Review Response) Bill 2023; Second Reading

1:39 pm

Photo of Anthony ChisholmAnthony Chisholm (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Education) Share this | Hansard source

I thank senators for their contribution to the debate—some more than others, I would say, Acting Deputy President! The reforms in the Australian Research Council Amendment (Review Response) Bill 2023 will set up the ARC for the future. It modernises the ARC governance and bolsters its independence. Importantly, it will get political interference out of grant funding decisions and give researchers and universities confidence that their projects will be judged on their merits through the peer review process. These reforms come out of the recommendations of the independent review led by Professor Margaret Sheil AO, and I add my thanks to Professors Sheil, Dodds and Hutchinson for their work. It has led to a report and now a bill that all those committed to the advancement of Australia's research sector can be proud of. I thank the Senate committee for their inquiry recommending passage of the bill and Senators Pocock, Faruqi and Thorpe for their engagement.

Of course, the opposition have taken a different view. It's clear that they want to preserve the ARC as a political plaything for future Liberal ministers. The opposition on this bill is deeply concerning. Well, the days of a minister spiking a research project because they didn't like it will end with this bill—a bill that sets up the ARC to spur Australian innovation in the future and catalyse productivity in the years ahead. Once again, I thank senators for their contribution. I commend the bill to the chamber.


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