Statement on Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee Public Hearings Australia’s Foreign Relations

Universities Australia CEO Catriona Jackson said:
“We have no objections to the legislation’s objectives of transparency. But Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Bill will not meet this goal.”

“Universities have two core concerns. Firstly, the workability of laws that will cover thousands and thousands of agreements; and secondly, we are deeply concerned the Bill will deter international partnerships which are the lifeblood of research.”

“It is critically important to strike the right balance between national security and research collaboration. The proposed legislation should either exempt universities or narrow the types and number of agreements covered.”

“It is essential the Bill is workable for DFAT as well as universities. As a nation, we have a small population, and we simply cannot afford to deter international research partners from working with us. The consequences will be the irreparable loss of Australian jobs and know-how right when we need them most.”

/Public Release. View in full here.