Universities Australia sincerely thanks the federal Government for listening carefully to our advocacy and proposing these amendments.
UA Chief Executive Catriona Jackson urged Parliament to support the amendments to the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017.
“Under the previous draft legislation, universities and their researchers would have been branded ‘political campaigners’ merely for expressing views on public policy,” she said.
“This would have forced universities to report on all commentary, research and philanthropy gifts which were never intended to seek influence the result of an election.”
“These amendments sensibly differentiate between ‘political campaigning’ that seeks to influence voters and non-partisan advocacy on important public policy issues.”
“It is vital that our most talented academics continue to be able to bring the results of their research to inform public debate for the benefit of the community.”
“From the latest breakthroughs in medical science, to the problems facing farmers in the bush – Australian university expertise is the bedrock of good public policy.”
Ms Jackson praised the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters and the Government for working through issues raised about the initial legislation.
The proposed amendments are currently the subject of a short Parliamentary Committee inquiry.