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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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Australia's New Science-Lite Government
16 September 2013 11:30 am
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—Australia’s scientific community and incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott are off to a rocky start. Unveiling his picks for Cabinet posts at a press conference in Canberra today, Abbott left science out in the cold. Pressed by reporters on the omission, Abbott replied that Australia’s national research agency, CSIRO, would fall under the portfolio of industry minister Ian Macfarlane.
“Scientists around the nation are asking, ‘Where’s the science minister?’ ” said Catriona Jackson, CEO of Science and Technology Australia, an industry group representing 68,000 scientists and technologists. The Australian Academy of Science, added Les Field, the academy’s policy secretary, “is surprised and disappointed that Prime Minister Abbott has not announced a minister for science.” Australian news media are reporting that this will be the first time an Australian government has not had a science minister since the science portfolio was created in 1931.
The omission comes on the heels of the incoming government’s threat to micromanage grant selection at the Australian Research Council, with awards in philosophy, religious history, and the intersection of art and climate change singled out as “ridiculous research grants that leave taxpayers scratching their heads." Other research areas that may need to brace for tough times include climate science and environmental protection. In 2009, Abbott dismissed climate change as “absolute crap,” and today reiterated his campaign pledge to scrap the carbon tax established by the outgoing Labor government. Abbott’s alternative is a fund, capped at AUD $3.2 billion, that would fund carbon sequestration and reimburse businesses for the direct costs of reducing emissions.