An ally for research: Last month the education minister told a meeting of vice chancellors that he planned to partner with them, to present research, and what it can accomplish, to his cabinet colleagues and the community, “We have the best researchers in the world … yet when it comes to how the general population understands that we have a significant amount of work to do,” (CMM September 2).
He expanded the point a couple of weeks later in the Reps, “researchers in universities around the country carry out research every day on different matters affecting the everyday lives of us all, not only in Australia but also right around the world. Cutting edge research is changing our world dramatically, but the incremental progress of long-term research programs is also vital for many industries, where commercial success comes from being just a cut above the rest,” (September 19).
He was out selling research this week with three (or was it four) announcements of new ARC research centres which he pitched as improving people’s live and making money for all Australians.
If the voters hear him the cabinet will listen when he asks for resources.
Supporting more women in researcher: In the previous parliament, Mr Tehan commissioned an inquiry into the standing and circumstances of rank and file school teachers (CMM November 16) and this year he was the only state or federal minister CMM knows of who spoke up on Principals Day. As a way of showing he backs the people doing the work it is hard to beat.
He did it again yesterday, saying he wants gender equity on three key ARC outcomes by 2023 and 2025. Certainly, there is a lot more systemic discrimination in research than this will fix – but putting his name to attempts to improve things is a powerful message.