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Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Page: 263


Senator MILNE (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (13:57): It is clear the minister has no intention of standing up and answering the question, so I would like to ask him another one. Which universities did you consult about the impact on their research effort of your taking $1.1 million out of the research and development budget in this country? The University of New South Wales made its submission to the Senate inquiry; which other universities did you consult? Did you consult any? Did you consult the CSIRO? And if you did not consult the CSIRO, why not? They are a central institution in this particular mix. I can see the minister is much more interested in talking to his other colleagues than in answering the question. So, Minister, if you are—

Senator Ronaldson: More important things to do than listen to you!

Senator MILNE: It is interesting—the government has learned absolutely nothing. They have more important things to do than answer questions about which universities they consulted about the impact on their research efforts of a government amendment to take $1.1 billion out of research and development!

This is exactly why the community is fed up with the current government. You just go back to your rhetoric and dismiss people's concerns as if they are of no consequence because somehow you are born to rule. Let me tell you: you are not born to rule. The community is sending that message. So I ask the minister directly: will you tell us which universities you consulted before you made the move on this legislation? Did you consult with any? What is the impact on their research efforts?