No new audit of ARC

The Australian National Audit Office will not expand the ARC’s world of pain

The ANAO has declined a request by Tanya Plibersek that it investigate the federal government’s administration of the Australian Research Council. Labor’s shadow education minister asked last month, before the (very) late announcement of Discovery Grant awards, on Christmas Eve.

Auditor General Grant Hehir now responds, “while the outcomes of the ARC’s grants programmes were announced later than usual, in considering your request for an audit, I have not identified any additional issues relating to ARC’s grants administration that would warrant prioritising such an audit.”

Which is pretty much what he told Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi, who requested an audit of the ARC when it excluded Discovery Programme applications, which breached a newish and obscure ban on citations of pre-prints (CMM October 25).

The ANAO’s announcement yesterday is a rare bit of good-ish news in a disastrous summer for the council.  Last month acting education minister Stuart Robert instructed the ARC on directions for research funding and told the council to establish an advisory committee with, “additional external and end-user perspectives.”

He also vetoed six Discovery Grants, which were approved according to council processes.

Prior to that announcement ARC chair Sue Thomas had  already resigned. She leaves at month end.