Australia Finally Has A Science Minister (Again)

It has been a pretty dark time for Australian science, but after a horror year of cuts, low morale and no representation, we're finally getting a Science Minister installed in the Abbott Government.

Main Australia image courtesy Shutterstock

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced his new-look Cabinet at a press conference this afternoon in Canberra.

Part of that Cabinet for the first time in this Government is a Science Minister.

Ian Macfarlane MP will take on the Science portfolio, tacked onto his responsibilities as Minister for Industry. Macfarlane had previously folded Science into his portfolio as Industry Minister, but it's now being broken out.

Assisting the new Industry and Science Minister with policy will be former engineer turned politician, Karen Andrews MP.

It's unlikely that, despite new representation in the Cabinet, the CSIRO will have its funding restored. Regardless: yeah, science!

Meanwhile, Defence Minister David Johnston has been demoted, presumably following controversial comments regarding the Australian Submarine Corporation.

In a heated debate in the Senate earlier this year, Senator Johnston screamed that he wouldn't trust the ASC to build a canoe, let alone the Government's big-ticket Air Warfare Destroyer vessels.

Kevin Andrews is the new man in the Cabinet for Defence.

The new Ministry will be sworn in on Tuesday.

[Tony Abbott]

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    I bet it is just to stop the anti science comments and will change nothing.
    The LNP have made there position on science clear, they dont believe in it :)

    So we've finally got a science minister. Good. Now all we need is some scientists.

      There are quite a few scientists now looking for jobs, so if the politicians want some in their staff they should be able to find some easily. Many are used to working for peanuts and being ignored by politicians, so they would be a good fit in the federal bureaucracy.

        That would be making assumptions that the government actually wants experts in their fields making decisions about that particular subject.... mutter mutter nbn... something something meta data about meta data but not recording website's just the data about the sites your going to ....cough

    This doesn't sound like we're getting a science minister, it sounds like they're calling the minister for industry a science minster to try to stop the argument.

    Last edited 21/12/14 9:22 pm

      Glad someone pointed this out.
      Existing minister adopting a portfolio != having a new minister installed.
      This whole thing is a cruel practical joke from a team with no sense of humour.

        To be fair, when there was last a Minister for Science, it was part of the Industry Minister's title - it is now how it was before the Abbott government took over

    What everyone is missing is that MacFarlane already had science as part of his portfolio. They've just added the word "science" back to his title because people wouldn't STFU about it.

    He's always had the portfolio which under the previous Labor government was known as "Innovation, Industry, Science and Research".

    Just like our environment minister who doesn't give a shit about the environment...

    Hopefully some good comes with this change.

      or a social services minister that couldnt give a rats a*se about people

        or self appointed male minister for women who is apparently clueless of womens' issues:

    Gotta feel sorry for him, he has a new portfolio, with nothing in it..! :)

    It's probably just me but I would love it if these portfolios were awarded based on merit... how about an honest to god (former) scientist as science minister, or a woman as minister for women, or heaven forbid and economist as treasurer? I guess we should be thankful the communications minister actually knows how to use the Internet.

      Perhaps because being a minister for science doesn't involve being a scientist, but rather being a minister. Their job is to develop and enact policy, not conduct scientific research.

      While it might be nice if an ex-academic became a science minister, it is hardly necessary. There are subject matter experts on department staff to fulfil that role.

      Given that their role involves the creation of policy and legislation, the fact that so many politicians are ex-lawyers is actually quite apt.

      Having said that, a wider variety of backgrounds in our representation would certainly be beneficial, but they wouldn't need to mirror the roles they hold.

    So in an article about science we've headlined it with a picture that seems to have the western half of a country that has <1% of the population inland lit up like a xmas tree.
    Go Science.

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