Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Science After the Election

By Simon Grose

Who is likely to be responsible for science after the Federal election, and are they qualified to represent it?

Simon Grose is a Director of Science Media (

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With Labor trailing chronically in the opinion polls before an election in which it must actually increase its vote to retain power, the science and innovation sector should be preparing to deal with a new team in Canberra.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has made a point of making no changes in his shadow executive. Assuming that continuity is maintained, along with the Coalition’s portfolio distribution, Sophie Mirabella would become Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (IISR) if Mr Abbott becomes PM.

Mirabella would thus be the nation’s 24th Industry Minister (the first woman to hold that post) and 32nd Science Minister (the second woman after current Liberal Deputy Leader, Julie Bishop).

Mirabella has qualifications in law and commerce, has held the regional Victorian seat of Indi since 2001, but has no previous executive experience in government. While filling the space as a pugnacious and populist Opposition spokesperson, particularly in the troubled area of industry policy, she has provided no evidence that she would bring a coherent or effective policy approach to the role of Minister.

Brett Mason, a Liberal Senator from Queensland and currently Shadow Minister for Universities and Research, is a lawyer who has lectured in criminology. He was Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing in the last year of the...

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