The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Melbourne MP Adam Bandt (Greens), which means it failed.
This amendment would put in place a process in respect to the public announcement of newly approved research grants. Mr Bandt explains his concerns with the current process and the reasons for his amendment:
[The Government] have issued new guidelines that say, 'Even once the Australian Research Council has approved a grant and it's been through the process, you can't announce it publicly unless you're a coalition MP,' even if it's not in your electorate and even if it's got nothing to do with you. You have to wait until you've got the public announcement of your grant. You have to wait until a coalition MP, a backbencher in a marginal seat, is ready to front up and do a press conference with you. That is an appalling abuse of the independence of the ARC. People should not have to wait to have grants publicly announced to suit the political convenience of a backbencher from the Liberal or National parties.
I'm moving an amendment that puts in place a very clear process that can't be accused of being politicised. It makes it crystal clear that when a minister makes the decision to approve the grant funding—so it's not changing the processes under the act—they just publish it within 21 days so that everyone knows. It also says that the announcement is not to be made together with another MP or a candidate from the minister's own political party; they just put it up on the website so that people know.
(1) Schedule 1, page 3 (after line 11), at the end of the Schedule, add:
4 After section 51
51A Announcements about approval of expenditure on research programs
(1) The Minister must, within 21 days after making a determination under paragraph 51(2)(b):
(a) make a public announcement of the determination; and
(b) cause a copy of the announcement to be published on the internet.
(2) The Minister must not make an announcement under subsection (1) together with any of the following:
(a) another member of parliament;
(b) a candidate in an election for the Senate or the House of Representatives.
(3) An announcement made under subsection (1) is not a legislative instrument.
(4) To avoid doubt, subsection (1) applies in addition to subsection 51(3).
(5) In this section, member of parliament means:
(a) a senator; or
(b) a member of the House of Representatives; or
(c) a Minister of State who is not a senator or member of the House of Representatives; or
(d) a person who is taken to be the President of the Senate under the Parliamentary Presiding Officers Act 1965 and who is not a senator or member of the House of Representatives; or
(e) a person who is taken to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives under the Parliamentary Presiding Officers Act 1965 and who is not a senator or member of the House of Representatives.