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PM Takes a Stalinist Stance on Science

Image: Simon Kneebone

Tony Abbott, like Joseph Stalin, has no decision-making framework when it comes to science. Image: Simon Kneebone

By Ross Honeywill

By pandering to anti-science, Australia’s Prime Minister is repeating the mistakes of Socialist Russia.

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In an exquisite paradox of politics and science, Australia under Tony Abbott appears to be following in the Soviet footsteps of Joseph Stalin – at least when it comes to science and scientists. The Stalinist era saw an immediate denigration and demotion of professional, academically trained scientists, a denial of evidence-based science, and the rise of peasant science.

One day after Tony Abbott’s election, a close adviser and former chairman of the ABC and the Australian Stock Exchange launched a vitriolic attack against the CSIRO, the weather bureau and the professional scientists who propagate “the myth of anthropological climate change.” He probably meant anthropogenic climate change, but he’s not a scientist.

He’s Maurice Newman, the man who will chair Tony Abbott’s Business Advisory Council, and in an opinion piece written for the Australian Financial Review he said that investment in the myths of climate change and global action mis­allocate capital and contribute to unemployment.

“The CSIRO, for example, has 27 scientists dedicated to climate change,” he wrote. “It and the weather bureau continue to propagate the myth of anthropological climate change and are likely to be background critics of the Coalition’s Direct Action policies.”

Coming only 1 day after the portfolios of science and climate change vanished, seriously diminishing the...

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