Oooooh, how exiting, an election…. (not)Posted: October 16, 2007
With an election looming we now have to pander/tolerate a pile egocentric politicians clambering over each other like rabid monkeys near a banana truck roll-over. Just can’t wait. Expect the usual crap, the usual blatant bribes for the masses and the total lack of reality over various issues. I’m sure there will be more than enough mud slinging, dirty washing dragged out by either party and a pile of wannabe minority parties scampering around the edges, hoping for some sort of influence over the future direction of Australia.
What you most likely will not find is any sort of coherent science policy from the government. I just looked on the Liberal site and once I got past the usual ‘sky is falling’ if we don’t get back in, found a big zero on their policy pages. Google couldn’t find anything either.. Labor however, hit jackpot with a #1 hit in Google with “Encouraging Young Australians To Study And Teach Maths And Science – Labor’s Education Revolution” . OK, it’s from January but is still relevant, here’s the link. Their policy section is at least organised , unlike the Liberals, the closest I could find was a document labelled “Our Platform” which claims “The Party’s policies are detailed statements of specific courses of action derived from the principles contained within this platform.” Searching the pdf file gave zero results for the word science. In fact looking at the two sites the difference is quite marked. The Liberal party appears quite negative with gaudy graphics trying to scare people about unions and to promote their people. The Labour party seems to promote change, new ideas and even tell you what they are.
Even the Green’s have a section on policies and even those on science. Normally the Greens jerk my chain something chronic, having to deal with them going through Uni many, many years ago and their ignorance on certain issues is up their with the dumbest policies of the Democrats (who, you ask?), however having a policy that starts with “1.science is an important tool for developing a deeper understanding of the universe.” is a big step in the right direction. The rest of it has some good points…and some bad and ignorant. Of course it’s all a bit moot with their chances of getting enough votes to get control of the senate but at least they are are trying. Family First don’t have a policy on science and their education policy does not mention the word science, which overall isn’t surprising considering their strong religious background and association with the AOG. They might be a light on but at least they actually have documents with their policies so you know what you are (mostly) voting for. Here’s their site.
However even if all the parties had well thought and documented science policies I doubt it would make much difference as that isn’t the stories the media will run with. Realistically, how many people are going to bother reading the policies, even if they exist? Most people get their information from what’s on TV and the radio and a few light articles in one or two syllable words in the local dodgy newspaper. Most of the readers of this are probably not in that category, however people in the skeptical movement or the much larger science area are still a very small minority. And the general population is so barren on science knowledge they barely know science exists as long as it somehow doesn’t stop their Foxtel.