SPEECH: Australian Research Council Amendment (Review Response) Bill 2023 – Consideration of Senate Message

Mr CLARE (Blaxland—Minister for Education) (12:55):

I move:

That the amendments be agreed to.

This is a great day for Australian research. It’s a great day for our researchers. It’s a great day for our universities. It’s a great day for our reputation in the international research community. The Australian Research Council Amendment (Review Response) Bill 2023, which will pass the parliament in a few minutes, modernises the Australian Research Council and sets it up for the future. It gives certainty to our researchers and universities around research grant funding. It strips away the political interference that has held Australian research back. It does all these things despite the opposition of the coalition.

They opposed this bill right from the get-go. They opposed it in the face of an independent review from a panel of eminent experts, and they opposed it despite broad sector support. They opposed it when regional universities were applauding it for giving a voice to regional, rural and remote researchers. Why did they oppose it? Because they want the ARC to be a political plaything for Liberal Party ministers. That ends today with the passage of this bill.

I once again thank the ARC Review Panel led by Professor Margaret Sheil AO. I thank the many stakeholders who supported the review and this bill—like the Group of Eight, who said that these governance reforms were not only overdue but were essential to the nation’s long-term interests; Universities Australia who called it ‘game-changing’; and Science and Technology Australia who called the review report a ‘thoughtful blueprint for modernisation’. My thanks also go to Senators David Pocock, Faruqi and Thorpe for their thoughtful engagement on it and their amendments which have made this bill even stronger. I commend those amendments and the bill to the House.