Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australia needs fundamental research to build a great country

By Jonathan Borwein

It's taken only 2 months for misgivings about the Abbott government's approach to science policy to be confirmed.

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Like many scientists, I was apprehensive in advance about the Abbott government’s approach to science policy. Would it be pragmatic but fact-based or would it be ideological and politically driven?

Sadly it has only taken two months to discover that it is the latter.

As a relatively recent immigrant (2008), who has chaired the precursor to Compute Canada (the national high performance computing organisation), NATO’s Physical Sciences and Engineering Technology Panel, and the National Research Council of Canada information institute (CISTI) I am fairly well placed to make an assessment.

According to Barbara Tuchman, Pulitzer-Prize winning historian, folly is error

perceived as counter-productive in its own time.

Here are four striking examples of the current government’s folly. All of them have sorry international precedents and parallels. I do not count the intended repeal of the carbon and the mining taxes, since these were “known knowns.”

Who needs a science minister?

In his address at the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science...

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