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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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.