ARC review welcome but NIT and veto have to go


Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has welcomed today’s announced review of the Australian Research Council but urged action on a number of fronts.

Senator Faruqi said:

“The Senate inquiry I initiated earlier this year did recommend an independent review, and I’m glad Minister Clare has taken this up. It’s beyond time for a good hard look at the ARC.

“A couple of things are crystal clear: the ministerial veto power and the national interest test have to go. Scrapping the veto power is overwhelmingly backed by universities and researchers.

“The national interest test is completely unnecessary and onerous, and has attracted significant criticism. It has to be ditched, not tweaked.

“The minister can make these changes without delay.

“Let’s go back to first principles: the people who know best about what research to fund are those in the research community. Rigorous peer review is fundamental, but it’s been undermined by politics for far too long.

“The review should not narrow itself to governance and operations. We need to ask the basic question of why we can apparently only afford to fund as few as one in five projects under many schemes, despite vastly more projects being of high quality. A lack of proper funding is really harming Australian research.”