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Australia's outgoing Chief Scientist says we're good but we can be better

By Michael Lund

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

Today marks Professor Ian Chubb’s final day as Australia’s Chief Scientist.

It’s a position he’s held for almost five years, during some of Australia’s most turbulent political times. He’s served under four prime ministers and six science ministers (if not always by title), for both Labor and the Coalition.

“Having six of them [science ministers] over a period of five years is probably not the easiest way to get a consistent approach so what do you do in circumstances like this,” Chubb told The Conversation.

There were some challenging times, such as when he encountered hostility towards climate science:

“The most turbulent I suppose as far as I was concerned was some of the hostility towards climate science which I think was irrational then and I think it’s even more irrational now.”

Overall he believes Australia’s position has improved over the years but he says we need to be more than just good followers and early adopters of new ideas. We need to develop new ideas of our own, for others to follow.

So what are his achievements over that time and what’s his advice for his successor, Alan Finkel...