Labor hounds Morrison over use of ‘Shanghai Sam’ in question time – politics live | Australia news
Labor is concerned by the motion passed at the Nationals’ Federal Council calling for a national science watchdog to oversee scientific papers.
The member for Dawson, George Christensen, moved the motion calling for the watchdog to provide “quality assurance and verification of scientific papers which are used to influence, formulate or determine public policy.”
Having already cut investment to science, research and innovation, Labor is concerned this is an attempt by the Government to undermine the integrity of peer review with political intervention and also an escalation of the government’s War on Science.
At a time when the Great Barrier Reef is dying, threatening both ecosystems and the tourism jobs it sustains, Labor is concerned such a watchdog would be used for political purposes.
While we don’t have details of the composition of the watchdog, science and research does not need a minister with an ideological bent, or a highly subjective panel, dictating without explanation the legitimacy of a peer reviewed researcher.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) already has one of the most rigorous and comprehensive peer review process in the world when it comes to reviewing research grant applications.
This recent Australian National Audit Office audit of the ARC concluded that the ARC’s administration of its grants program is effective, and the guidelines align with the government’s research and innovation objectives.
In rare exceptions where a minister vetoes a grant, they should be required to publicly and transparently explain their decision.