Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has written to the Minister of Education, Jason Clare MP, urging him to act on the findings of the Review of the Australian Research Council Act (ARC Act) as soon as possible.
Senator Faruqi said:
“The ARC Act review recommends that the ARC be given autonomy to make decisions over research grants - something the Greens have been calling for for some time.
“In 2018, I introduced a bill to amend the ARC Act to remove the minister’s power to veto grants at their discretion. The bill received overwhelming support from the research and academic community, but was rejected by a bipartisan senate committee last year. The findings of the ARC Act review vindicate my bill.
“As the review notes, trust in the work of the ARC has declined since its independence has reduced. Ending political interference in the ARC is key to its success. To that end, the ministerial veto power and the national interest test should be scrapped immediately.
“There is an elephant in the room though- the review did not examine the adequacy of research funding even though it's clear that Australian research cannot reach its full potential without increased, long-term public funding.
“University funding is vital if we are to solve the complex and wicked problems of the climate crisis, inequality, global justice and health emergencies amongst others.