Audit Office declines to investigate ARC

The Auditor General has declined Mehreen Faruqi’s request that his office look at the Australian Research Council’s administration of applications in recent research rounds.

Some were excluded due to inclusion of references to pre-prints, which broke a newish and obscure rule, causing uproar. Senator Faruqi (Greens, NSW) suggested the Australian National Audit Office investigate the process involved, which, she wrote, was “in some aspects irregular and not acceptable for an Australian Government agency, (CMM September 30, the backstory starts in CMM August 30).

But Auditor General Grant Mehir responds nothing-doing. “The ARC has provided assurance that appeals relating to the rescinded pre-print rule will be considered. I also understand that alternative external appeals mechanisms are available,” he states.

The ARC website lists the Ombudsman and the Privacy Commissioner, among other agencies, which do not look relevant to the issue, that could consider appeals. Unless, of course the Administrative Appeals Tribunal wanted to have a look. Maybe, maybe not. While the ARC lists the AAT on its external review list, it advises “the AAT does not have general power to review ARC decisions.”