Australia News & Commentary Politics State

Academics ask taxpayers to fund over $4-million in absurd university research grants, such as ‘Changing China’s Gender Norms’

Senator James Paterson has applauded Simon Birmingham for his “careful stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” after the former education minister rejected $4.2-million in recommended university research grants.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, this is the first time a minister has used such powers in more than a decade.

On Twitter Labor Senator for Victoria, Kim Carr said, “last time this happened was by Brendan Nelson.” However, in Carr’s next tweet he went on to call Birmingham’s actions “unprecedented.”

“The former Minister has interfered with Australia’s peer review system,” Carr tweeted. “Is it because he did not like the topics, the academics? There has been no public disclosure. Simon Birmingham owes Australian researchers an explanation.”

“This is a serious matter. Failure to win funding can have a devastating impact on an individual researchers career. Bona fide scholars who have made it through a tough contest, judged worthy by peers, lose a grant because of political whim #estimates.”

The grants included: $228,155 for “Rioting and the Literary Archive” at UNSW; $325,592 for “A History of Australian Men’s Dress 1870-1970” at ACU; $161,774 for “Beauty and Ugliness as Persuasive Tools in Changing China’s Gender Norms” at UNSW; $222,936 for “Post-Orientalist Arts at the Strait of Gibraltar” at University of Sydney; $226,811 for “Music Heritage and Cultural Justice in the Post Industrial Legacy City” at Griffith; and $259,720 for “Greening Media Sport” at Monash University.


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