Australia's research institutions risk being strangled by restrictions imposed by a massively flawed treaty with the United States, the Australian Greens said today.
Greens spokesperson assisting on Defence Senator Scott Ludlam today said the Government and Opposition had ignored Australian universities' warning of the impact of the Defence Trade Controls Treaty, which threatens to subordinate the Australian research effort to suffocating security restrictions.
"The Government, with the connivance of the Opposition, is pushing the Defence Trade Controls Bill through Parliament to suit the November visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta.
"The legislation will impose severe restrictions on Australia's research institutions. In the name of increased defence research ties between Australia and the US, the Government is pushing a lopsided treaty that sells out our universities. And the Coalition - despite three of their own Senators signing the dissenting report with the Australian Greens - turned to water today and refused to send the Government's complex last minute amendments back to Committee.
"In its preliminary report the Senate Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Committee asked the Defence Department to go back and consult the university sector as it should have in the first place. While some discussions have occurred chaired by the Chief Scientist, a consensus has not been reached.
"The Government needs to stop the clock and get this right, in the interests of the entire Australian research community."