Labor commits to a fixed date for research announcements

Routine legislation for ARC funding was in the Reps yesterday. Labor did not look a gift bill in the mouth

It was an excellent opportunity for the Opposition to hop into the government over Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert’s Christmas Eve veto of six ARC approved Discovery Grants he does not think are in the national interest. While this is undoubtedly a matter of the highest principle it also allowed Labor to assert ownership of the issue, given Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi has a bill to stop ministers blocking ARC recommendations.

Queensland MP Graham Perrett made the running for Labor, criticising delays in grant announcements and “culture war manoeuvres” over awards.

And he reiterated his colleague Tanya Plibersek’s commitment to approve ARC recommended grant funding,  before adding;

“And they’ll be delivered on time on a pre-established date—not Christmas Eve, I can guarantee that!—and well in advance of the grant’s commencement. That’s the Labor guarantee.”

Other Labor MPs and NSW independent Zali Steggall talked at length about the importance of research and the government’s failings but it was Mr Perrett’s promise of a date that the research community will welcome most.

It was left to James Stevens (Liberal SA) to speak for the government’s research commercialisation plan and what it could mean for South Australia and manufacturing (the ghost of Playford stalks North Terrace still) – which he did at length.

Did he change many researchers minds? Probably not. But with an election imminent they were not likely to be his intended audience.


to get daily updates on what's happening in the world of Australian Higher Education