RAPID REACTION: Tony Abbott’s new cabinet may not include a Science Minister – experts respond

Mon Sep 16, 2013

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It has just been reported that Tony Abbott’s new cabinet may not include a Science Minister. A list of the new cabinet members as announced can be found here. Below, experts give their view.

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Professor Les Field is Secretary for Science Policy, Australian Academy of Science

“The Academy is surprised and disappointed that Prime Minister Abbott has not announced a minister for science. We hope that he might make such an announcement within the next few days. Science reaches into so many areas of our lives and is so important to informing and shaping the world in which we live and work – it is integral to health, industry, food and water security, transport, defence, IT and much more. A scientifically literate society is a society which is equipped to hold informed debate and make intelligent decisions about big issues that affect us all.

We would be heartened to hear that Ian Macfarlane has charge of a broader science portfolio, not just the CSIRO. Mr Macfarlane has long been interested in and engaged with science.”

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Catriona Jackson is CEO of Science and Technology Australia

“Scientists around the nation are asking: Where’s the Science Minister?

“The nation’s scientists are confused and disappointed by today’s announcement of the new Federal Government Ministry. 

“Science and technology are central to virtually everything Government does, from industry to universities to agriculture to health to creating the kind of jobs that will ensure a prosperous future. 

“We await the release of the Government’s administrative arrangement documents which will hopefully give further clarity about who is responsible for science.” 

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