XENOPHOBIA, racism and blackmail, which are hardly the Prime Minister’s promised good government, dominated public discourse this past week.
First cab off the rank came the Prime Minister’s two Captain’s Picks, when he told us he was sick of being lectured to by the UN, and he thought Australia’s First Peoples who lived in remote communities were exercising a lifestyle choice.
His remarks were so obviously scraping the bottom of the xenophobic and racist barrel that they have reaped well deserved condemnation from all those with a social conscience.
They need little further comment from me, except to firmly join in that condemnation, which I now do .
So now I’ll devote the rest of this week’s column to something that is only now getting the public debate it needs, which is that research funding and the jobs that go with it are threatened by Education Minister Christopher Pyne linking that funding to his desperate attempt to pass his Higher Education bill through the Senate.
Mr Pyne is saying he will not give research facilities funding (which in fact has already been announced unless the Senate passes his Higher Education bill).
He is putting the bill to the Senate again this week, with the vote likely tomorrow.
This in fact blatant blackmail, as no one wants to see research funding disappear.
There are 1700 jobs associated with some world-leading research facilities, from telescopes to marine science, which face the axe by Mr Pyne from June 30 this year.
"The consequences are that potentially 1700 researchers will lose their jobs,” Mr Pyne warned (SMH, March 16, 2015).
“The savings are in the reform, therefore the savings and the spending are inextricably linked. You can't do one without the other,” he said.
Australia’s long-term needs have become caught up in the Abbott government’s sordid short-term political tactics.
Thankfully Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said: “Senators are not going to like being threatened and misled by Mr Pyne”
“Mr Pyne should stop playing politics by trying to mislead the Senate crossbench.
“It’s time he recognised that he’s out of arguments. He must scrap this bill,” she said.
- Ray Goodlass