The major parties have colluded to throw Australia's research sector into a bipartisan black hole, the Australian Greens said today after the Coalition voted to defeat its own key amendment to the Defence Trade Controls Treaty Bill.
"Tony Abbott's ‘just say no' madness now even extends to amendments moved by his own side. It looks like Mr Abbott got pulled into line by the US Government overnight," said Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.
Greens Deputy Leader and Member for Melbourne Adam Bandt spoke in the House in favour of keeping the critical amendment that would exempt basic research.
"The protection this amendment would provide to the Australian research sector is vital - and that protection is being stripped away by the Government and the Coalition.
"Placing McCarthyist controls on Australian researchers will jeopardise our universities and undermine our prosperity. The government has failed its first test of the Asian Century."
Senator Ludlam noted the "remarkable spectacle" of the Coalition voting against amendments written by their own Defence spokesperson; Senator David Johnston.
"Yesterday the Coalition Senators voted with the Greens to fix some of the serious problems in this Bill. Today the Coalition members in the House of Representatives voted to delete that work.
"Last night the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Professor Jill Trewhella, praised the Coalition and Greens for passing Senate amendments to ‘ensure that Australian researchers will not be disadvantaged with respect to their US colleagues'. Today, the most important of those amendments have been struck down by the Labor Party and the Coalition."