Why are politicians and scientists often at odds?
Scientific rigour doesn’t always survive in a political system based on popularity and self- preservation. And we don’t have to look far to find examples of policy making that elevates economic or electoral essentials over environmental or health imperatives.
It is scientists role to observe, question, research, create and explain – they present solutions for some of the world’s biggest problems. Politicians act as the brackets of possibility of what can be achieved with scientific research and innovation. We trust they will create policy and programs that best put to use the knowledge created by scientists.
As the late, great Dr Julius Sumner Miller would often ask; Why is this so? Perhaps we should also ask; who is making these decisions and what are they thinking when considering the science?
Political insiders reveal the behind-the-scenes machinations that occur when government is faced with scientific evidence that may, or may not inform policy and action.
Professor Possingham is a conservation scientist and mathematician who completed his PhD at Oxford in 1987 as a Rhodes Scholar and was most recently the Chief Scientist at The Nature...View Profile
Jamila Rizvi is Chief Creative Officer for Nine’s Future Women and a best-selling author for adults and children. She is an opinion columnist for The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald,...View Profile
Australia’s 29th Prime Minister (2015-2018) had international careers in law, business and the media before entering politics at the age of 50. As Prime Minister, he reformed Australia’s personal income...View Profile
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