Minister not moving on research vetoes

Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert publicly commented yesterday on his Christmas Eve veto of six HASS projects the Australian Research Council had approved for Discovery Programme funding.

Asked why by Michael Rowland on ABC TV, Mr Robert said he is obliged by legislation to ensure funded research is in the national interest and he decided the six “weren’t value for the Australian people.”

But given the grants were approved according to ARC rules should he have vetoed them, Mr Rowland asked.

“I’m sure all organisations want their voice to be the last voice, but that’s not how our democracy works,” Mr Robert responded.

And there it ended – the minister probably did not convince anybody in the research community – but given the veto is a minor part of a set of major policy changes on research funding (CMM yesterday) it is unlikely Mr Robert much cares.