I am doing a Ph.D. which is fully paid by the Government. I want to apply for Australian PR. Will my research experience be counted as work experience, or do I need to show post-study experience?
Just as a guess, I'd say, yes it does. I base this on the fact that here, in Hungary, you need to give lectures and classes during your PhD studies. I don't know how this works in your country, but I guess this is universal in the Bolognean system.
Another reason is that most of the people who do PhD will end up doing researches and giving university lectures/classes to make their living, it is pretty much their occupation.
However, who could really answer this is your skills assessing authority. Try looking this information up on their website or contact them.