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Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Page: 261

Senator MILNE (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (13:50): I did not ask for a party political broadcast on Liberal Party propaganda. What I asked for was an unequivocal guarantee that the research effort of Australian universities will not suffer—will not actually be cut—because the government has decided to move to take $1.1 billion out of research and development as a result of this legislation. It is a straight-up question. The vice-chancellors, the students, the businesses associated with it and the PhD students all deserve an answer. It is a serious business. You get a university like the University of New South Wales, with 30 per cent of their research effort, they estimate, backed by companies that are directly affected by this bill. Given that that is the fact, they deserve an answer: if this passes, is this going to undermine the dollars available for those research efforts, given an environment where you are cutting back funding to universities?

These are the serious questions the community want answered. You have not learnt anything from the feedback from the community on what they think of the Abbott government if you keep on standing here just going into a party political broadcast. Answer the question: will universities suffer in their research effort—yes or no? Will there be any adverse consequence because you are stopping large corporations investing in research and development by taking that $1.1 billion out? It is a straight-up question: yes or no?