<1>Science, research & jobs threatened by Pyne's Parliamentary blackmail

Greens Deputy Leader and science, research and innovation spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today said that world-class research facilities around the country and about 1700 jobs face the axe from June 30 this year under Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s desperate attempt to pass his Higher Education bill by blackmailing the Senate.

“Education Minister Christopher Pyne is blackmailing the Parliament, saying that unless the Parliament passes his plan to increase university fees, he’ll take the axe to science and research facilities in this country,” Mr Bandt said.

“It’s like saying the government is not going to fund schools unless the GP fee gets passed. The two areas are unconnected.”

“Christopher Pyne is saying he will not give research facilities funding that has already been announced unless the Senate passes his Higher Education bill.”

“The Abbott government is simply threatening Parliament, saying ‘increase uni fees or the scientist gets it. It’s Parliamentary blackmail, pure and simple.”

“There are 1700 jobs associated with some world-leading research facilities, from telescopes to marine science, that face the axe by Christopher Pyne from June 30 this year.”

“Australia’s long-term needs have become caught up in the Abbott government’s sordid short-term political tactics.”

“We join the Research Alliance and call for the Education Minister to stop blackmailing the Senate and give these critical facilities the funding that they need to prevent their closure and stop the brain-drain of Australian researchers.”

Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said: “Senators are not going to like being threatened and misled by Mr Pyne.

“After failing to respond to the serious concerns many Senators have about fee deregulation and higher education cuts, Mr Pyne is threatening an entirely unrelated cut to research funding.

“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,” said Senator Rhiannon.

Audio of press conference earlier today with Adam Bandt MP and Senator Lee Rhiannon available online here.

Media contacts:

Adam Bandt – Adam Pulford, 0429 109 054
Senator Rhiannon – Maiy Azize, 0487 350 880