Defence Department wants to regulate research

The Defence Department says government should use a revised defence trade control act to control access to pretty much whatever it decides (CMM, Friday). In a submission to the Thom Review of the act DOD suggests, amending it, “to allow the Australian Government to more effectively control access to Defence and Strategic Goods List technology and other technology that may be used to prejudice the security, defence or international relations of Australia.”

Nobody much seems bothered by this, with the DoD prop largely unchallenged. Except by the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes, which considers it a cause for conniptions.

“The Department’s proposal is for unprecedented powers to regulate research and the legitimate exchange of knowledge, without justification or consultation with the research sector first,” AAMRI argues.

“Not only will researchers in Australia be held back by red-tape and delays as they wait for the associated inspection of their work by the Department of Defence, but such unparalleled power would threaten improved health outcomes and commercialisation of research.”

So why aren’t researchers alarmed? AAMRI suggests no-one much has noticed what Defence proposes.


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