Govt says no to independent science advice for MPs

Senators Janet Rice (Greens) and Kim Carr (Labor) proposed the Senate Economic References Committee consider a parliamentary science office

There’s one at Westminster that provides independent advice and a case has already been made for one in Canberra (CMM February 18, August 6).

To which the government replies nothing doing.

“The proposal to create a new body would see more taxpayer money spent on more bureaucracy, duplicate existing functions and mechanisms and see no appreciable gain in the effectiveness or the efficacy of scientific advice,” Minister (for many things) Jane Hume told the Senate.

Those rumblings you hear are the after-shocks of Senator Carr and Senator Rice speaking up for a body to advise members and senators, independent of agencies of the executive – perhaps along the lines of the Parliamentary Budget Office.

Senator Carr, in particular took the himalayan-high ground, suggesting the government’s record on support for science demonstrates, “they have yet to come to terms with the Enlightenment … one of the finest achievements of Western civilisation. It is the flowering of the enlightenment values of organised rational inquiry— inquiry into the nature of the world around us and inquiry into humanity’s place in the world.”


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