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PM's comments undermine Australian research

The Greens are calling on the Prime Minister to clearly state the government's policy on research independence and stakeholder funding.

"This government has systematically re-focused the priorities of Australian research over the last decade by requiring research organisations, including CSIRO, Cooperative Research Centres and Universities, to 'leverage' an increasing portion of their research funding from industry stakeholders," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"Yet yesterday we had the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, and the Minister for Workplace Relations saying that the mere fact of stakeholder funding compromises the credibility of a piece of research.

This is a farcical situation," she said. "I am astonished that the Prime Minister went as far as dismissing a piece of research simply because it was funded by a stakeholder group," said Senator Siewert.

"These regrettable comments have serious implications for the independence and funding of Australian research."

"It is irresponsible to write-off any research in this manner. If the government have valid criticisms of the assumptions or methodology of a piece of research they should share them - rather than condemning the significant volume of Australian research endeavour that now relies on some proportion of outside funding," said Senator Siewert.

"This is not just an insult to the individual researchers and their institution, it is a serious slap in the face for the ARC and Australia's research community. If the government is seriously calling into question the independence of industry-funded research, then Australia's entire research and development effort is suddenly on shaky ground."

"Research independence is sacrosanct. Governments seeking to politicise research funding do so at their own peril," concluded Senator Siewert.

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