Uni foreign affairs set for scrutiny

The Senate is set to consider on a bill universities oppose

The government’s bill giving the Commonwealth oversight of state and territory agreements with foreign powers was approved by a Senate committee on Thursday, despite detailed arguments from universities why it should not apply to them. Universities Australia pointed to the “thousands and thousands” of agreements that will be covered, (CMM November 6).

But while Labor and Greens senators on the committee pointed out problems with the bill, there are no, at least not yet, amendments proposed – the bill is scheduled for the Senate on Wednesday.

If senators waive the bill through it will not augur well for universities. The parliament’s intelligence committee is starting an inquiry into foreign interference on campus and if it reports anything alarming there are Coalition MPs and senators who would love the government to increase oversight of universities, additional to the oversight about to be added.