National interest defined: whatever the government says it is  

There is talk that Education Minister Dan Tehan’s idea for a national interest research test is intended as to protect defence secrets from foreign powers, and apparently not just mocking the humanities.

If so, the minister will assist the Defence Department, which thinks it should be able to investigate whatever it likes on campus. In July Defence alarmed the research community with a surprising supplementary submission to the Thom Review of the of the Defence Trade Control Act. The submission suggested amending the act “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,” (CMM July 13).

The research community slammed the idea at the time (CMM July 19),  just as it slammed Mr Tehan’s suggestion last month of a national interest test for ARC funded research to meet as yet unspecified national interests.


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