Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Future Research Stars Are Born in Every Town

By Senator Kim Carr

Labor believes that “Australia cannot be an innovation nation unless we are an education nation – and a science and research nation”.

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Australian scientists were entitled to feel relieved when the Liberal Party changed its leader last September. After all, in the 2014 Budget Tony Abbott’s government stripped $3 billion from public funding for science, research and innovation programs, and sought to take $12 billion over 10 years from university research programs. These policies, along with cuts to university budgets and unfair fee hikes that would lumber university students with $100,000 degrees, were carried through in the 2015 Budget.

But for scientists, like most Australians, Malcolm Turnbull has turned out to be a bitter disappointment. A partial reversal of those massive cuts to science in his overhyped National Innovation and Science Agenda comes nowhere near restoring the resources and the confidence of the Australian research sector. The radical Americanisation of our university system remains government policy under Mr Turnbull, hidden behind the in­adequate fig leaf of a discussion paper. The simple truth is that most of this government’s anti-science, anti- innovation policies remain intact.

There is no doubt about it, Mr Turnbull has an impressive vocabulary, schooled in the jargon of Silicon Valley and Wall Street. But his words are a distraction – we must look at his deeds to see what the future holds for an Australian science sector under a returned Turnbull Liberal...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.