Opinion: Ministerial research vetoes

Posted in News on 6 March 2024

DASSH President Nick Bisley has written an opinion piece published in Research Professional News calling on Senators to support the Australian Research Council legislative amendments currently before the Senate. The changes are based on recommendations from the ARC Review Panel last year and would bring Australia in line with global standards.

The Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee recommended the government pass amendments to the Australian Research Council Amendment (Review Response) Bill 2023 last month.

Among several other changes, the amended Bill would remove the minister’s power to veto funding for individual research projects, except on national security grounds. 

This would limit politicians’ ability to use humanities research as a political football and DASSH has engaged directly with a number of key Senators urging them to support these changes.

Denigrating ARC approved individual research projects in the humanities and vetoing funding has happened repeatedly under federal Coalition governments.

Since 2004, Coalition ministers have vetoed 32 individual grant projects. Almost every single one has been in the humanities.

The ARC Review panel, hundreds of stakeholders who have made submissions, thousands of signatories to several statements and letters, national institutions, universities, sector leaders and members of the international community agree vetoes must go.

It is time that the Coalition stopped discrediting research grant proposals that have been rigorously assessed and tested. 

The independent nature of scholarly research and the practices recognised around the world are the best way of funding that work.