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Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Page: 350


Senator MILNE (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (18:02): It is an entirely different proposal. But, regardless, the Greens did not support taking $1.1 billion out of the research and development budget under the last government, and we do not support it under this government. In particular, what we have had from the minister is complete contempt for the Senate. He has been asked a direct question about what consultation he had with the universities. The fact is that there has been none, because all he can come up with is the same rhetoric from the bad government that has been in for so long. The good government that is supposed to have taken its place has not made its way to the Senate, because we are getting the same rubbish: that the Australian people are the people he consulted, not the universities.

You never do that when it comes to any other bit of legislation. You talk about your stakeholders. You go and ask the people who are going to be impacted. The universities are going to be impacted. CSIRO is going to be impacted. Every research institution in the country is going to be impacted by this. You are going to see a lot of research dollars go off overseas. More particularly, the decision to slash the universities and CSIRO, and now to take $1.1 billion out of the research funding, means that you are going to have a lot of small, innovative companies in Australia not having access to research dollars, and universities are going to be undermined in their research efforts, and it is going to be down to you, the Palmer United Party and other people on the crossbench who vote for it.

Mark my words: when AusBiotech and the universities find out what you have done, they are going to be horrified. But I am not surprised, because, as I said earlier, the Vandals have come over the wall. They are going back to the Dark Ages. It is anti-science, anti-research and anti-rationalism. We are going back to intuition, as Senator Cormann said last night in response to why he would not accept my amendment on quarterly payments: it was intuitive. So now we are into intuition and fairytales, because there is no consultation about what is going on in terms of the impact on the universities. I feel really sad, because we will see PhD students and innovative companies done out of research dollars by people who do not know what they are doing, do not know what they have put to the Senate and cannot stand up and actually argue their case.

The CHAIRMAN: The question is that Palmer United Party amendments (1) and (2) on sheet 7618, revised, be agreed to.