Dr Bella d'Abrera, resident historian for the Institute of Public Affairs. Picture: Stuart McEvoy.
Dr Bella d'Abrera, resident historian for the Institute of Public Affairs. Picture: Stuart McEvoy.

Taxpayer millions wasted on gender agenda

An audit of taxpayer-funded grants to academic boffins shows they are "totally obsessed" with identity politics, with millions of dollars handed out for studies in esoteric ­gender-heavy topics such as "why Christ was born a man".

The dominance of identity politics-led research has crowded out other subjects like free speech or capitalism, the analysis by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) of Australian Research Council (ARC) grants since 2002 shows.

Some of the examples uncovered in the audit include $154,675 to Melbourne University to study fortune telling in America to "shed new light on the relationship of rationality and modernity in US history" and $391,685 to Macquarie University to examine "sexing scholasticism: gender in medieval thought 1150-1520".

"This project explores ­medieval theological debates about why it was necessary that Christ was born as a man," the ARC disclosures state.

Dr Bella d’Abrera.
Dr Bella d’Abrera.

Another $267,158 was given to the Australian Catholic University to study transgender rights since the early 20th century and $210,587 to look at Australian LGBTI military ­service since 1945.

The IPA report suggests the projects should be self-funded, as occurs in Britain and Canada - or the academics be forced to salary sacrifice or take a loan for the research.

"If academics were forced to make a salary sacrifice or take a loan to pay for their ­research, then this would certainly focus their minds on what is critical to the nation and what is not," said research author Dr Bella d'Abrera.

More than $1.34 billion in ARC grants have been given to humanities research subjects since 2002.

Of that, $192 million went to 616 historical studies research projects - with identity politics topping the list of subjects - followed by indigenous history and studies of war and conflict.

In comparison, the report found free speech and capitalism attracted only one grant each, while three grants went to rule of law research.

 

 

Jesus Christ by Leonardo da Vinci: A research project will examine if it was necessary for Christ to be born a man.
Jesus Christ by Leonardo da Vinci: A research project will examine if it was necessary for Christ to be born a man.

According to Dr d'Abrera, the IPA's Foundations of Western Civilisation Program director, the results show history has become dominated by one viewpoint which sees the world in terms of the privileged and oppressed.

"Australian taxpayers need to know that their hard-earned dollars are funding research that can in no way be considered of benefit to society," she said. "The findings are further proof that the humanities departments are totally obsessed with identity politics.

"It is no wonder students are deserting the humanities when all they get is class, race and gender. The millions of taxpayer dollars being spent on identity politics raises serious questions about how the humanities are funded."

Several federal ministers have tried to make the ARC grants more rigorous and in the national interest, but Dr d'Abrera said current Education Minister Dan Tehan has now approved three projects that were previously vetoed by his predecessor.

These include $367,519 to the ACU for "Masculinity and social change in Australia".

Mr Tehan's office said the "ARC advised the three projects that had previously been rejected were markedly different on resubmission".