Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister for Research Senator Kim Carr today welcomed the Australian Academy of Science’s election of 21 new Fellows for their outstanding contributions to science and scientific research.
The new Fellows were admitted to the Academy today in a ceremony in Canberra, and will make presentations about their work tomorrow at the Academy’s annual flagship event Science at the Shine Dome.
“Labor congratulates the new Fellows, who have been elected by their peers for their work across a broad range of areas including diabetes, cancer and kidney disease, advanced fuel cells, and new plastics technology,” Mr Shorten said.
“The Academy plays an important role in promoting public awareness of science in schools and the broader community, which Labor strongly believes in.
“In my Budget Reply I announced a suite of policies that put science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at the centre of a Labor Government’s agenda, because we know that to create the jobs of the future we must see the future as one defined by science, technology, education and innovation.
“It is especially encouraging to see that almost half of the new Fellows elected to the Academy this year are women.
“A Shorten Labor Government will build the STEM workforce of the future by encouraging more young people to choose a career in STEM. As part of this measure, we will specifically seek to support more women to take up careers in science disciplines where they are currently under-represented.
“To achieve our national goals, we also need upskill existing STEM teachers so they can teach with passion and confidence, and ensure that computer coding – the digital language of the 21st century – is taught in every primary and secondary school in Australia.”
Senator Carr said today’s awards were an acknowledgement of world class research of Australian scientists.
“Each of the newly elected Fellows has dedicated their working lives to achieving excellence in research and working to solve the challenges we face as a society.
“Today, their names are added to a roster of Australia’s best scientists – including Elizabeth Blackburn, Suzanne Cory, Frank Fenner, Mark Oliphant and Brian Schmidt.
“Like these science leaders, Labor understands the importance of science in driving innovation across our economy and creating the jobs of the future.” Senator Kim Carr said.
Labor’s Jobs For the New Economy package will:
- Work with states and territories, teaching bodies, schools systems and the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to lift the status of coding to a core skill that is part of learning from the start of schooling
- Establish a STEM teacher training fund to support 25,000 primary and secondary school teachers over five years to undertake professional development in STEM disciplines. Coding and programming will be a key focus of this program
- Encourage STEM graduates to teach, by offering 25,000 Teach STEM scholarships over five years to recent STEM graduates, to address the shortage of qualified teachers. Recipients will get $5000 when they commence a teaching degree, and $10,000 when they complete their first year of teaching
- Provide 100,000 STEM Award Degrees – 20,000 a year for five years – that will provide a financial incentive for students to enrol in and complete a STEM undergraduate degree, in recognition of the significant public benefit of growing Australia’s STEM capacity. STEM Award Degree recipients will have their HECS debt written off upon graduation.
Labor values the significant contribution that science and research makes in our community, and it is important that we acknowledge and value the work of Academy, its Fellows, and their peers.
The Australian Academy of Science is a private organisation of Australia’s leading research scientists, elected for their personal contributions to science. You can find out more about the Fellows elected today at https://www.science.org.au/fellows-elected-2015
MONDAY, 25 MAY 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053
THOMAS MOORHEAD 0427 126 355