The Parliament recently swung the spotlight on science during the final sitting fortnight prior to the federal budget. Science meets Parliament showcased Australian research on the national stage while Staff Association representatives held talks with a range of parliamentarians to highlight the challenges facing CSIRO employees.
Science meets Parliament
Held over 21 and 22 March, the eighteenth edition of Science meets Parliament saw some two hundred Australian researchers gather in Canberra together for two days of networking and career development.
Opened by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, the first day featured lively debates about science and the media, panel discussions on how science is used to shape public policy and workshops where attendees were able to prepare and rehearse for their parliamentary meetings. A Gala Dinner that evening featured the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten MP, and the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator Arthur Sinodinos.
The focus of day two was direct meetings with members of Parliament and an opportunity to highlight specific research and the achievements of the sector. Other highlights included Question Time, Minister Sinodinos’ speech at the National Press Club and the release of the Government’s National Science Statement.
CSIRO Staff meet with elected representatives
The following week Staff Association representatives – led by Sam Popovski and Dr Scott Wilkinson – met with a diverse range of MPs and Senators to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the CSIRO workforce.
This lobbying effort included meetings with Minister Sinodinos and his opposition counterpart Senator Kim Carr.
The Staff Association team also met with Senators Janet Rice and Rachel Siewert from the Australian Greens, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Employment and the Digital Economy, Ed Husic MP and Parliamentary Friends of Science co-founder and Shadow Defence Minister Richard Marles MP.
Other meetings featured Senator Chris Ketter, Senator Jenny McAllister, John Alexander MP and newly elected West Australian MPs Matt Keogh and Dr Anne Aly. Representatives also met with staff from the offices of Senator Pat Dodson, Senator Sam Dastyari and Rebekha Sharkie MP.