The significance of this amendment will have a profound impact on current and future generations. Continuing to permit ministerial intervention sends a negative message to future generations that their passions, an integral part of individual identity, will not be backed by the place they call home. It will discourage self-expression and disenfranchise the current and future generations from reaching their true potential.
Funding cuts and grant vetoes do not only affect academics and staff; it changes the atmosphere on campus. As students, we often feel and share the disappointment of our lecturers, supervisors, friends and mentors. Consider a student’s perspective, seeing their role model lose their jobs because their expertise is ‘not of public interest’. What message does that send to future generations of a bright and hopeful future?
Our view is that intervention by a ministerial decision impedes academic freedom and disrespects the sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We have provided examples of foreign nations that entrust independent decision making by their academics and have protected funding for fundamental research. This is a research policy we would recommend Australia adopt as well and thereby propose: