TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT’S RESEARCH ANNOUNCEMENT
Scott Morrison’s made a sport of trashing universities: cutting their funding, jacking up fees and driving clever researchers out of work.
Now he expects Australians to believe he cares. Give us a break.
Extra funding for university research is always welcome. But you’ll excuse us for taking some time to look at the detail of this announcement. With Scott Morrison, the flashy headline rarely matches the reality.
Because of Scott Morrison’s vaccine and quarantine failures, universities lost around $3.8 billion during COVID – money that would have been spent on research.
When universities needed a lifeline during the pandemic, Scott Morrison abandoned them. In fact the Liberals changed JobKeeper rules three times to make sure universities missed out on help.
What happened? Research projects stopped. Campuses closed, especially in regional Australia. Forty thousand higher education jobs were cut. Thousands of brilliant researchers lost their jobs, with many fleeing overseas. Australia suffered a research brain drain created by our own Prime Minister.
Just last year, the Morrison-Joyce Government deliberately delayed announcements about university research grants until Christmas Eve. That caused enormous uncertainty for 5000 researchers who didn’t know if they’d keep their jobs or whether their projects would be able to continue.
For political reasons, the Morrison-Joyce Government even vetoed research projects that had been recommended by independent experts.
Those aren’t the actions of a government that takes research seriously.
New technologies and breakthroughs don’t come out of thin air – we need researchers to invent or discover them. The Liberals have never given them the support they need.
TUESDAY, 1 FEBRUARY 2022