Friday, June 6

Ill-advised medical fund is weird science

This letter was  published in the AFR on the 6th June 2014.

In “Basic science research under-funded” (AFR, June 3), Joanna Mather contends the federal government is under growing pressure to justify its decision to focus on medical research while cutting other science programs, as official figures show investment is already heavily skewed toward studies in medicine.
What is evident is the proposed creation of the new $20 billion fund for medical research was formulated with virtually no consultation from our leading scientists.
They would have advised the fund risks being largely ineffective without integrated support from the other science areas which are being cut.
Liberal backbencher Dennis Jensen, who has a PhD in materials science and physics and experience as a research scientist, contends it is not good policy to massively increase medical research when you are making heavy cuts to the CSIRO, the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, the Australian Research Council and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
He laments the absence of a science minister, noting “not a single G8 nation lacks a dedicated science minister, and this bodes ill for our future’’. But Prime Minister Tony Abbott foolishly ruled out a science portfolio, claiming ministers could take an integrated approach where scientific matters are involved and seek relevant departmental advice.
The budget’s piecemeal approach indicates no such consultative action has been taken, and the skewed outcome severely undermines the nation’s future to invest wisely in science and technology to secure our future prosperity.


susan said...

It was probably Confucius who taught that balance was (and remains) essential. Sometimes I think your government is about as short sighted as ours.. and a few others we could name.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan
I would also call it a lack of uncommon common sense !!

Confucious would be horrified at this seriously out of balance decision, a hallmark of many piecemeal,appalling decisions already evident with this government !!

Best wishes

susan said...

It's as much of a mystery to me how Abbot got elected there as it is that Harper is still PM here.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan,
It’s not so surprising given previous PM Rudd, very unpopular in his own party, was ousted by power brokers in his own party who installed Gillard as PM. She ubsequently just scrapped into power in the next election due to a partnership with the independents.

But she became deeply unpopular with some labour voters, due to a broken promise on the carbon tax and other issues and also as she was saddled with a less than convincing treasurer Swan.

The end result was a migration of swinging labour voters to the coalition.
Best wishes