Today's Australian government cabinet reshuffle — the totally professional game of musical chairs following former minister Sussan Ley's resignation after another entitlements scandal — means we have a new minister for innovation, industry and science.
With exiting minister Greg Hunt shuffling sideways into Ley's health role, cabinet secretary Arthur Sinodinos becomes Australia's newest science minister, assuming responsibility for enterprises like CSIRO and ANSTO and marine science.
The science ministry role covers CSIRO, ANSTO, the Australian Research Council, Geoscience Australia and the Office of the Chief Scientist. The industry and innovation segment of the portfolio includes IP Australia, which issues patents for Australian inventions.
Outgoing minister Hunt was in the past positive about the role of Australia's peak science body, with president of the Australian Academy of Science Professor Andrew Homes telling Gizmodo the new minister "recognised and affirmed the importance of the CSIRO as Australia’s flagship science and innovation agency". Under Hunt, CSIRO added new climate science roles and changed its focus to 'breakthrough science' research.
Parliament's Labor opposition was already attacking Sinodinos in anticipation of his new role, referencing the time he was asked by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott to stand down during an ICAC inquiry into Liberal party donations from a company Sinodinos was a former office holder of. In May, Sinodinos advocated for political donations to be disclosed in real time.