In Australia, money for science is cut, money for religious programs increased

Guest Post by Peter Mc, Australia

Australian science body takes a funding hit while extra money is miraculously found for religious education in state schools to the tune of a quarter of a billion dollars.

CSIRO cuts space research deeply to find required $114m savings

Deep cuts to the CSIRO budget will see up to 30 positions go in the organisation’s space research division and the suspension of its Bolton fellowship, one of the world’s most prestigious astronomy scholarships.

In the meantime, one of the few industries enjoying a growth spurt in Australia is the controversial, federally-funded chaplaincy program that operates in state-run schools. But before any out of work scientists start thinking about changing to a new career, there is a fly in the ointment. Recent changes to the chaplaincy program have seen non-religious staff (social workers) losing their jobs too. So unless the scientists have a strong religious stance, they will simply be under-qualified.

The Australis fellowship and a number of postdoctoral positions will also go unfilled, and the organisation will not appoint a chief scientist to head its world-leading Square Kilometre Array project, as the CSIRO scrambles to find savings after a $114m funding cut in the federal budget.

After the previous Labor government spent years working extremely hard to be a major player in the SKA project, a Chief Scientist will not be appointed. This is a worrying development from a Conservative government that broke with tradition and failed to appoint a Science Minister despite Prime Minister Tony Abbott claiming to “love Science”. For all appearances, it looks as though Mr Abbott’s close ties with the Catholic Church (established when he trained for the Priesthood) far outweigh his “love of Science”.


  6 comments for “In Australia, money for science is cut, money for religious programs increased

  1. Cathy
    July 29, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    I was going to make a sarcastic remark about killing off some of our ministers in a previous article and thought better of it. This is why I wanted to write it.

  2. Tom
    July 30, 2014 at 2:41 AM

    Since Mr Abbott seems to have trained for the priesthood of the catholic church and obviously did not become a priest perhaps this is conscience money to make up for his “failure” since the mind works in strange ways.

  3. Adam
    July 30, 2014 at 5:12 AM

    When I was a kid I used to believe Australia was a really cool laid back country with progressive laws. But these days I wonder what the heck is going on with it. It has become authoritarian with religious undertones and seems to be doing its best to promote luddism at every turn. Firewalls, censorship, climate change denial, state sponsorship of religion etc.

    Whatever was wrong with the last government, I do not understand what the appeal of the current one is.

  4. Graham
    July 30, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    The reason Abbott was voted in was that to voters he appeared to be consistant.

    Rudd after reaching the end of the list of promises he used to get elected gave (or allowed) the impression to be created, that he was either basing policy on Facebook likes or opinion polls. Gillard was tainted from the get go, by the way she became PM. It would have been better strategy for the Labor party to have allowed Rudd to lose to Abbot and then dump him rather than invoke the NSW ‘revolving door’.

    As for Gillard, back in the 1980’s there was a woman called Robin Greenberg (See link below) she exploited progressive groups and feminist retoric to rip off a large number of people (Mostly women and progressives) in a modified Ponzi scam.
    When the wheels came off of Greenbergs scam (Called the Western Women Group.) she resorted to blaming the Patriarchy and sexism for her failures. When people started asking for the money back she took the books out into the bush and set them on fire, the books survived, but the resulting bushfire caused a lot of damage.

    She got 17 years, people in Western Australia like to say she got 16 years for the bushfire and 1 year for the fraud. For the details see:

    As to how this relates to Gillard, well she used exactly the same tactics as Greenberg when things started to go bad.

    Now, had Alanis McTiernan been PM instead of Gillard, then Labor would probably still be in office, like Hawke, Keating & Howard, I think she is worthy of the office.

  5. Stamen
    July 30, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    In New Zealand several election cycles ago, a bunch of emails were leaked from the most conservative of our two main parties. The National Party agreed to give public funding to Private Schools (something like American Charter Schools) in return for election donations. When they next won an election they did in fact do this -while cutting money to public education. I would suspect that is what is happening here, the CSIRO haven’t paid for extra funding with election bribes.

  6. Peter McCarthy
    July 31, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    Graham, I’m going to take issue with a number of points here.

    At no stage has Tony Abbott ever appeared consistent. He is actually famous for the back flips and especially the interview with Kerry Obrien when he tried to describe a policy reversal as “fine tuning”. Not just ABC viewers saw this by the way. In one week he denied Climate Change then two days later (if memory serves me correctly) he appeared before a greenish audience and said he recognised there is Climate Change and further, that it was human induced.

    Julia Gillard’s rise to the top job was highly consistent with how Leadership of a Party usually occurs. Numbers are counted a poll held in the Party room and a winner decided. The media driven campaign was one of the more farcical efforts ever seen in Oz.

    The challenge was unusual in that it didn’t come with the usual destructive campaign of drawn out speculation and multiple challenges. That only occurred when Kevin Rudd worked to get his old job back. In more brutal days, Kevin Rudd would have also lost his Ministership and resigned his seat but the more considered style of Ms Gillard didn’t extend that far and ultimately allowed Mr Rudd back in.

    As to the wild accusations made in the following comments I would make the following observation. There is no doubt that all manner of smear was engaged in against Julia Gillard especially by The Australian newspaper. The number of times they had to retract and apologise runs at about 7 articles. Often simply re-runs. The aggressive nature of Tony Abbott himself is well known and if there were any grounds for attack he would have exploited it to the max.

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