Labor commits to ARC independence

Tanya Plibersek has intervened in the controversy over government vetos of council approved grants

The shadow education minister says she would “never reject a grant on political grounds.” The commitment comes in a response to a letter from academics protesting acting education minister Stuart Robert’s Christmas Eve veto of six research projects recommended by the ARC.

“Should I become minister for education, I am committed to approving all ARC grant applications that are recommended by a rigorous ARC peer review process and that meet the conditions set out in the call for applications,” Ms Plibersek states.

Research on student activism on climate change was one of the six HASS projects Mr Robert refused to fund.

“This government has a record of decrying ‘cancel culture” while at the same time censoring academic research it does not like,” she adds.

According to Ms Plibersek, the role of an education minister, “should be to ensure that the ARC’s grants processes are rigorous, fair and transparent and that the ARC has competent leadership and is functioning well. The independent agency should then be allowed to do its work without political interference.”