Wow! What a powerful finale to Science meets Parliament 2022.
Amid a galaxy of stars from the worlds of science and politics, last night Australia’s newly-minted Science and Industry Minister Ed Husic signalled his deep appreciation for the work of science. He thanked the nation’s scientists for all that they do – and outlined a desire to learn from, partner with, and back in Australia’s formidable STEM sector to advance Australia’s interests.
It was a powerful speech. He laid out an intention to tackle big challenges for our nation with support and engagement from the STEM sector. On the name change of the portfolio from innovation to science – he was declarative. “We’re bringing science to the forefront. We’re listening to the science, we’re respecting the science, and we’re acting on the science,” he said. And he set out ambitions to invest further in key frontier technologies – AI, quantum and more, and a bold pitch to work to end the brain drain in STEM of our brilliant home-grown talent.
There was a powerful note of bipartisanship too, as he signalled a desire to work with State and Territory Ministerial counterparts from both sides of the aisle to seize opportunities for the nation. “It doesn’t matter what side of politics you are on – if we’re working together in the national interest, that’s all that matters.”
The sector also took this important opportunity to thank former Science and Technology Minister Melissa Price for her deep engagement with all of us in her time in the portfolio.
With 720 guests in eight capital cities, an array of heads of science organisations and agencies were joined by senior Parliamentarians. They included Australia’s new Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, South Australian Deputy Premier Susan Close, Queensland Science Minister Meaghan Scanlon, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Science Robyn Preston, Tasmanian Science and Innovation Minister Madeleine Ogilvy, and NT Treasurer and Education Minister Eva Lawler, and many federal MPs, Senators and Senators-elect.
And the night was burnished with more stars. There were powerful words from Quandamooka mathematician, ATSIMA Chair and STA Board Director Chris Matthews, our superstar MC Nate Byrne, and STA President Mark Hutchinson. As CEO of Science & Technology Australia, I expressed our deep gratitude to the Minister and the Parliament for its engagement with the sector through the powerful vehicle that is Science meets Parliament.
I am always so proud of the terrific work Science & Technology Australia does to forge ever-deeper connections between the worlds of science and technology and policy-making. Those connections can help decision-makers and legislators to draw on deep scientific expertise to make the best possible decisions on how to tackle the big challenges.
A huge thank you to the amazing staff, Board and volunteers at STA who have staged this ambitious eight city triumph.
Ably led by STA Events Director Lucy Guest and Deputy CEO Sandra Gardam, this superb team who landed the event included Emma Hibbert, Kelvin Peh, Evelyn Fetterplace, Emily Downie, Sarah Tynan, Martyn Pearce, Shannon Wong, Penny Thomson, Andrew Harford, Sharath Sriram, Anita Goh, Chris Matthews, Lila Landowski, Heather Catchpole, Jas Chambers, Mark Hutchinson, Kathy Nicholson, Karina Nunez, Tatiana Soares da Costa, Chloe Taylor, Anna Bolton, Sarah Pearce, Kirsti Abbott, Charmaine Valenzuela, Louise Atkins, Francine Machin and Genevieve Evans. Legends, one and all.
Thank you to all of you who attended last night, and supported Science meets Parliament 2022.
That’s it for this special edition of Member Update – we’ll be back next fortnight with the regular full bulletin.
CEO, Science & Technology Australia