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Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Page: 5172

Senator CARR (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) (1:04 PM) —Invariably they will. Even some members of the Liberal Party might do that. May I even be so bold as to suggest they might engage in a political process to complain about what is happening with the expenditure of public money. I know that is a shocking revelation to you.

Senator Mason —Not with someone else’s money.

Senator CARR —I have heard that members of the Liberal Party do engage in a political process at universities. I have heard that has been going on for some time. So maybe you should go back to the Liberal Party branches that are obviously giving you such difficulty on this issue and draw their attention to the way things actually work at universities. We are seeking to provide a framework to support student services, amenities, representation and advocacy for students at universities. That is essentially what this bill seeks to do. I know you have a view that we as a parliament should regulate the behaviour of students at universities. While in government, you sought to establish a series of protocols about the behaviours of university administrators and university academics—

Senator Mason —You supported it for a time.

Senator CARR —No, no. Previous ministers sought to engage in direct interventions with regard to which research projects were undertaken, the behaviour undertaken by students and what universities spent their money on. You did this under the guise of Work Choices; you did this under the guise of a number of other moral crusades that you sought to perpetuate and for your narrow, base political motives. We are not going to be a party to it. We are about ensuring that institutions are able to be run properly and that we understand the importance of universities. As Minister Gillard pointed out, we take the foot off the throats of universities. What you are seeking to do is to reimpose that Commonwealth boot onto the throats of universities.