The Australian Historical Association expresses in the strongest terms its staunch opposition to political interference in the peer review process of awarding Australian Research Council grants. The news that former Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, intervened to obstruct the funding of 11 research grants that had been approved through the rigorous peer review process undermines the independence of high quality Australian research and the integrity of the peer review process. It represents an unacceptable act of arbitrary interference on political grounds, one that has damaged Australia’s international research reputation.
The AHA recognises and expresses outrage at the disruption to the careers and lives for those scholars, including historians and especially early career researchers, whose projects and careers have been severely impacted upon by this alarming and direct political attack on humanities projects.
In order for confidence to be restored to the research sector the AHA demands that the previously rejected grants be fully funded. The AHA calls on the Morrison government to demonstrate its belief in the value of Humanities and HASS research by confirming a commitment to independent and transparent funding processes.