Evidence before ideology

Posted By TEU on Jan 8, 2009 |

The Tertiary Education Union (TEU), whose members include tertiary education academics, is concerned that the government’s proposal to overhaul home detention and parole laws is another sign it may be setting a bad precedent by pushing through policies that appear to lack the support of sound, research-based evidence.

All governments will have different priorities and goals but it is important that they take time to check the academic research evidence before putting together policy,” said Sharn Riggs, TEU national secretary. “Obviously we understand the government’s desire to hurry policy through to meet promises it made to its voters. But governments need to be careful not to let ideology come before evidence otherwise they will end up with bad law.”

“Academics and researchers have a crucial role to play in policy development and they should not be excluded from the process because a government is in a hurry or the evidence does not suit the ideology of the day. Academics and researchers obviously have many varying political opinions but the advice they provide is all based upon research.”

“There has been lots of research into the efficacy of home detention and parole that can help the government with its work. It would be a shame if that were ignored in favour of the style of rushed legislation we saw before Christmas. For instance it would be hard to find an academic in the field of labour law on any side of the political spectrum who would say that the 90 Day Probation Law was a well thought out piece of legislation.”

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