With the increasing likelihood of an Australian federal election at some point in 2012 or early 2013, I thought it would be a good time to critically analyse the proposed science policies of each of the six registered political parties. While I wouldn’t base my vote on science policy alone, it does weigh heavily on my decision (and I hope others as well). My aim is to try and present the stated policies and directions of each political party, with respect to science and research (when they have been indicated), with the hope that this will fuel further discussion and raise awareness about the future direction of science in Australia. It is essential that Australians are aware of the scientific ideologies of each party, as the Government plays a central role in setting research priorities, goals and regulations. As I am currently working in the US I will, on occasion, make comparisons to science policy and directions in the US.
Over the next few weeks I will dedicate a post to each of the registered political parties (in no particular order). I should note at this point that I will focus on science policy per se, and not on science budget policy (although I am a big supporter of increasing the science and research budgets of ARC, NHMRC, CSIRO etc. but that is a discussion for another day). For more information about medical research budget policy, and to show your support for medical research, visit the Discoveries Needs Dollars website. For a better and more detailed description of science policy in Australia, then I highly recommend the Australian Institute of Policy & Science and the Australian Academy of Science websites.