The national interest test proposed by Minister Tehan is straight out of Yes Minister. The farcical proposal is a Liberal tactic of inventing a problem and then trying to solve it. Academics and researchers see right through it. The test's whole purpose is to allow ministers to further interfere in the already independent, rigorous, peer reviewed process for narrow political reasons. The Australian Research Council already requires researchers to demonstrate the benefits and impacts of their research. If the minister had spent five minutes talking to the research community, he would know that. Narrow political agendas should not be allowed to determine long-term research priorities. We shouldn't allow political interference in the Australian Research Council grants, no matter who is in government.
That the Senate:
(a) notes that:
(i) the new National Interest Test for the Australian Research Council research grants will allow the Government of the day to influence an independent research approval process,
(ii) narrow political agendas should not be allowed to determine long-term research priorities, and
(iii) the Australian Research Council already has a rigorous peer review process for assessing grant applications and applicants are required to demonstrate the benefits and impact of their research; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to remove the National Interest Test from research grants administered by the Australian Research Council.