Science meets Parliament 2012

Hundreds of Australian scientists from a range of disciplines descended on Canberra this month for Science meets Parliament, hosted by Science and Technology Australia.

In its thirteenth year, the Science meets Parliament experience continues to provide participants with an orientation of the political process and the opportunity to establish meaningful connections with politicians and policymakers.

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Strategies for making connections

CSIRO was well represented and Staff Association members joined with CPSU colleagues from other Federal Public Sector science organisations such as ANSTO, DSTO and the Bureau of Meteorology.

Press Gallery panel with Lyndal Curtis, Phil Coorey, James Massola and Mark Riley

The first day’s events focused on developing the range of proven tools to effectively convey the message of science to policy decision makers.

Conference delegates also received advice from leading bureaucrats, journalists and science communicators on new strategies and trusted methods to highlight the importance of their own research.

Gala Celebration

Parliament’s Great Hall was the venue for a Gala Dinner to celebrate the achievements of Australian Science.

Special guests included Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, Nobel laureate Professor Brian Scmidt and Shadow Minister Sophie Mirabella MP.

Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans at the Gala Dinner

Science and Technology Australian CEO Anna-Maria Arabia reflected on achievements of the previous twelve months.

“One year ago we gathered here under the dark cloud of threats and attacks on science. And yet the year since then has been a great one for Science, both here in Australia and across the world,” Ms Arabia said.

“An Australian Nobel Prize winner and SKA bid success here locally. And internationally, the world has stopped to watch Mars rover Curiosity and the discovery of Higgs boson in CERN.

“What a difference a year can make,” she said.

Parliamentary Friends of Science

The Gala Dinner was also the venue for the launch of a new group, the Parliamentary Friends of Science.

Convened by Labor’s Richard Marles and Coalition backbencher Karen Andrews, the friendship group has been formed to foster a closer relationship between parliamentarians and scientists.

Ministerial Audience

A packed committee room of inquisitive scientists greeted Science Minister Chris Evans on the second day of Science Meets Parliament.

The Minister endured some candid questioning on the budget position and the future of science funding, as well as the campaign from CPSU members to implement a Science Integrity Charter for the Federal public sector.

Political delegations

Throughout the day, small groups of conference delegates attended private meetings with Ministers, Senators and MPs from across the Parliament.

The meetings provided an opportnity for scientists to meet with Parliamentarians face to face and provide an insight into their research and relevant public policy issues.

Other events throughout the two days included a breakfast forum with Parliamentary Secretary Mark Dreyfus MP, a National Press Club address from Professor Brian Schmidt, a visit to Question Time in the House of Representatives, and a cocktail function hosted by the Australian Greens.

More information

For more stories from Science meets Parliament 2012, look out for the Spring edition of Wavelength.

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