A Shorten Labor Government will end the Liberals’ war on science, restore trust in scientists and put science back at the centre of government, by resetting the relationship between government and Australia’s science and research community.
For the past five years, science and scientists have been denigrated or ignored, and funding has been cut, because the government refuses to listen to the experts on climate change, energy policy, and growing inequality in Australia.
Labor’s mission is to develop a relationship with our scientists and researchers based on trust, respect and mutual obligation, for the benefit of the Australian people.
Labor understands that scientific research and development is fundamental to Australia’s future. It’s fundamental to Australia’s capacity for innovation, for economic growth and productivity and for the creation of new jobs. It’s fundamental to the food we farm and eat, to the cities we live in, our energy future and security, the way we communicate, the health of our loved ones, and our national security.
If elected, a Shorten Labor Government will develop a charter with the Australian science and research community to establish the reciprocal roles, responsibilities and expectations of government and researchers.
As part of this charter Labor will:
- affirm our fundamental respect for academic freedom;
- review and strengthen the National Science and Research priorities; and
- establish a Prime Ministers Science and Innovation Council, responsible for identifying our national priorities in science and research.
A Shorten Labor Government is committed to reversing the decline in Australia’s research and development performance that has taken place in the past five years.
Labor is the only party committed to lifting Australian spending on Research and Development from 1.8 per cent of GDP to 3 per cent. We are committed to restoring our international competiveness.
And to restore the integrity of the Australian Research Council, we will legislate a requirement that Ministers must table an explanation in Parliament within 15 sitting days of rejecting any recommendation of funding by the Chief Executive Officer.
A Shorten Labor Government will also establish, for the first time in 20 years, a once in a generation, root-and-branch inquiry into strengthening our research capabilities across the whole of government.
Australia needs a new direction for science and research that brings scientists together instead of dividing their efforts.
The review’s terms of reference will build on the experience of similar reviews undertaken by Canada and the UK.
Leading scientists in Australia have committed themselves to being part of the review, which will be led by the former Chief Scientist and former vice-chancellor of the Australian National University, Professor Ian Chubb AC. Other members of the review panel include:
- Professor Christobel Saunders AO FRCS FRACS FAAHMS
- Professor Emma Johnston AO FRSN
- Professor Andrew Holmes AC FRS FAA FTSE
- Professor Karen Hussey
- Mr Phil Clark AM
- Professor Glyn Davis AC FASSA FIIPA
Additional members will be announced in due course.
Only Labor is committed to a stronger partnership between science and government, and to fostering a better relationship of deeper respect and greater co-operation. Australia’s future depends on it.
Science and research for Australia: LINK
Research in Australia: LINK
Restoring integrity to the Australian Research Council: LINK