Has the Government tamed the Australian Research Council? Crikey has been working through the details of the grants announced this week. We’re not sure that Cabinet’s cultural warriors would approve of this one for the University of Technology, Sydney:

A study of political commentary in the outlets of a major media corporation

This project will analyse the political commentary published or broadcast in the media outlets of a major media corporation and explore whether political commentators and columnists in these outlets share an agenda of conservative populism…

The University of New England has won funding for “A study of Australia’s most popular internationally‑known comedian, Barry Humphries” that will include “the global export of Australian cultural products in the post‑imperial era”. That sounds as if it’s asking questions some of Humphries’s lesser known characters, Neil Singleton, the 1960s left-wing cultural critic, and Martin Agrippa, the underground film producer – let alone a Humphries filmmaking manifestation concerned about discrimination against lesbianism in an Aboriginal women’s prison and Golden Goanna winner, Phil Philby – may have already answered.

But one project at Charles Sturt University will be very useful to the Government. It’s called “Crisis management simulation”.

Peter Fray

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