The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the bill's main idea. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time. This means our senators can now discuss the bill in more detail.

What does the bill do?

According to the bills digest (which is a document prepared by the parliamentary library):

  • The Australian Research Council Amendment (Review Response) Bill 2023 (the Bill) amends the Australian Research Council Act 2001 (ARC Act) to make changes to the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) purpose, oversight and funding arrangements.

  • The Bill inserts a revised objects provision into the ARC Act, with the aim of establishing a clearer statement of the ARC’s purpose.

  • The Bill establishes an ARC Board as the accountable authority of the ARC. The Board will have skills-based appointees, First Nations representation, and a representative of regional, rural and remote Australia. The Bill devolves the appointment process for the Chief Executive Officer to the Board, in consultation with the Minister.

  • The Bill makes the Board responsible for providing advice to the Minister on funding rules (grant guidelines), with approved funding rules now subject to disallowance.

  • The Board will also have responsibility for approving spending on research programs under funding rules, including grants within the National Competitive Grants Program. The Minister will retain the ability to approve grants for designated research programs, which currently include ARC Centres of Excellence, Industrial Transformation Training Centres and Industrial Transformation Research Hubs. The Minister also retains the right to direct the ARC to not fund a research proposal or to recover funds from previously approved research grants based on security, defence or international relations concerns.

  • The Bill changes the funding arrangements for the ARC to enable greater funding flexibility and certainty, and to reduce legislative burden.

  • The Bill implements 6 recommendations from Trusting Australia’s Ability: Review of the Australian Research Council Act 2001.

  • The main organisations representing universities are broadly supportive of the Bill.

  • The Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills has sought advice from the Minister on a number of aspects of the Bill. The Bill has been referred to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 5 February 2024.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (91% turnout) 10 Yes 0 No
Penny Allman-Payne Queensland Yes
Dorinda Cox WA Yes
Mehreen Faruqi NSW Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Nick McKim Tasmania Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
David Shoebridge NSW Yes
Jordon Steele-John WA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Barbara Pocock SA Absent
Australian Labor Party (76% turnout) 19 Yes 0 No
Tim Ayres NSW Yes
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Yes
Anthony Chisholm Queensland Yes
Raff Ciccone Victoria Yes
Varun Ghosh WA Yes
Nita Green Queensland Yes
Karen Grogan SA Yes
Jenny McAllister NSW Yes
Malarndirri McCarthy NT Yes
Deborah O'Neill NSW Yes
Fatima Payman WA Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Tony Sheldon NSW Yes
Marielle Smith SA Yes
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Yes
Jess Walsh Victoria Yes
Murray Watt Queensland Yes
Don Farrell SA Absent
Katy Gallagher ACT Absent
Glenn Sterle WA Absent
Jana Stewart Victoria Absent
Linda White Victoria Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price NT Country Liberal Party Absent
Andrew McLachlan SA Deputy President No
David Pocock ACT Independent Yes
Lidia Thorpe Victoria Independent Yes
David Van Victoria Independent Absent
Jacqui Lambie Network (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Yes
Tammy Tyrrell Tasmania Yes
Liberal National Party (50% turnout) 0 Yes 1 No
James McGrath Queensland No
Matthew Canavan Queensland Absent
Liberal Party (87% turnout) 0 Yes 20 No
Alex Antic SA No
Wendy Askew Tasmania No
Andrew Bragg NSW No
Slade Brockman WA No
Michaelia Cash WA No
Claire Chandler Tasmania No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
David Fawcett SA No
Sarah Henderson Victoria No
Hollie Hughes NSW No
Jane Hume Victoria No
Maria Kovacic NSW No
Kerrynne Liddle SA No
Matt O'Sullivan WA No
James Paterson Victoria No
Gerard Rennick Queensland No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Anne Ruston SA No
Paul Scarr Queensland No
Dave Sharma NSW No
Simon Birmingham SA Absent
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania Absent
Dean Smith WA Absent
National Party (75% turnout) 0 Yes 3 No
Perin Davey NSW No
Susan McDonald Queensland No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Ross Cadell NSW Absent
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (50% turnout) 0 Yes 1 No
Malcolm Roberts Queensland No
Pauline Hanson Queensland Absent
Sue Lines WA President Yes
Ralph Babet Victoria United Australia Party No
Totals (80% turnout) 34 Yes – 27 No