Ahead of formal protests at the CSIRO Black Mountain labs in Canberra, I spoke today about the literal decimation of Australia's premier science agency.
JUNE 25, 2014
In 1931, Labor member Jack Holloway became the first Australian to be Minister for Science. Eight decades later, the Abbott government became the first government in three generations to not have a science minister. The lack of a science minister has sat alongside another significant decision by this government: decimating the CSIRO. This government is literally sacking one in 10 CSIRO staff.
As members know, CSIRO is the organisation that created wi-fi, the hendra virus vaccine and Relenza, the first effective influenza treatment. And yet, despite CSIRO's successes, within my electorate, the Campbell and Crace sites of the CSIRO are being closed down, with staff being relocated to Black Mountain or losing their jobs. Specific areas of research which are likely to suffer include neurosciences, colorectal cancer, bioscience, carbon capture and storage, radio astronomy, efficient energy management and climate change science.
This government has never seen an expert body that it did not want to shut down or an expert that it did not want to get rid of, and the Prime Minister's attacks on climate science are of a piece with his attacks on science generally. Tomorrow, at the Black Mountain site, thousands of Canberrans will gather to voice their objections to the government's cuts to the CSIRO.