Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Canberra Lowers the Flag on Science

By Ian Lowe

Science has already disappeared from sight in the new Abbott government.

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When the new Australian government was elected in September there was speculation about who might be the new Minister for Science. Sophie Mirabella had shadowed the portfolio in Opposition, but she lost her re-election bid.

In one of the more amusing interventions, a Western Australian politician who is still denying climate science put his hand up and expressed interest in the job. That could have been a world-first – an anti-science Minister for Science!

But the end result was just as perplexing. I scanned the full list of ministers, deputies and parliamentary secretaries: no mention of science at all anywhere! There is a Minister for Education, an Assistant Minister and a Parliamentary Secretary for Education, so presumably someone will have responsibility for tertiary education and might be aware of the research being done in universities. But where does the responsibility for CSIRO and other government science agencies rest? Nobody could give a straight answer when Australasian Science went to press.

With a Coalition Senator attacking in print what he called the “propaganda” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it does not augur well for the next 3 years.

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The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report was still in review as I file this column, but its alleged findings were already being used by the press to...

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