#onsci September 19 2013: Ministry Schministry

The new Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced his cabinet this week “including some “significant promotions” but a “disappointing number of women” [ABC News] and some notable portfolios absent.


via GetUp! [Facebook]

So where do science, innovation and climate change sit within an Abbott government?

Without a specifically named Ministry, does it mean that science doesn’t matter? And do pre-election statements like promising “an Abbott government would get rid of “those ridiculous research grants that leave taxpayers scratching their heads wondering just what the government was thinking” [The Conversation] fuel concern?

Or, as with most things, are there different ways of viewing the world?

It’s been a while since we considered the landscape of science and politics, so our #onsci chat for September will pick up how and why science and science policy fits into a new government agenda. We’ll explore the following questions:

  • What are the general benefits of having a science specifically stated in the Ministry?
  • How might science and innovation policies be included in the portfolio of Industry (and by Minister Ian McFarlane), and is this likely to differ from previous Ministries? What about in the portfolios of Education, Agriculture and Environment?
  • How might this alter the place or view of science into the future?
  • If you could design your perfect role for science in Cabinet, how would you do it, and for what goals?
  • How might these benefits of an explicit ministry or policy be delivered in other ways?
  • What actions should scientists and researchers take to influence or adapt?

Join us to debate and reflect on science and politics on Thursday 19th September at our #onsci twitter chat. Kick-off is 9pm AEST.

Find @onsci and hashtag #onsci on twitter to follow or participate. All welcome!


  1. More to read: Australia: Where is your Science Minister? [The Guardian]

  2. More to read: How science will fall [New Matilda]

  3. More to watch: Nobel Prize winner Brian Schmidt on ascertaining how the Abbott government will deal with science [SMH]

  4. More to read: Rod Lamberts & Will J Grant on our “invisible, odourless, weightless science minister” [The Conversation]


  1. […] September 2013: Ministry Schministry: the role of science in the new government […]

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