Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Science at the Ballot Box

By Emma Johnston

When you find yourself at the ballot box on 18 May, ask yourself about each party’s science and technology credentials. Here’s a guide.

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

Last month I was proud to host more than 70 leaders from 58 science and technology organisations in Sydney to craft a unified platform for science policy ahead of the Federal election on 18 May. Together we compared priorities and came away with four shared positions that we would like to see adopted by each of the major parties:

  • a whole-of-government plan for science and technology;
  • a strategy to equip the future Australian workforce with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills;
  • strong investment in fundamental and applied research; and
  • a commitment to creating policy across all portfolios that is informed by the best available evidence.

This also included specific targets, such as aiming to spend a minimum of 3% of GDP on research and development by 2030, commitments to reverse cuts and secure investment in government research and funding agencies, scoping for a Research Translation Fund to support commercialisation and research translation in non-medical areas, and improvements to foster a diverse, inclusive and equitable sector.

The 2019–20 Federal Budget and the Opposition reply that followed were opportunities for the major parties to pitch their vision for science. Both clearly signalled that science and technology are not front-of-mind for our major parties.

The...

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