Australian Labor Gov't Expected To Boost Budget For Research
The Labor party has won the Australian 2022 federal elections, and it has led to cautious optimism amongst researchers about science funding and changes in climate policy, Anthony King reported for ChemistryWorld.
Photo Insert: The Liberals, the conservative party that led a coalition government for the last nine years, had their worst election in decades, leaving room for Labor, headed by Anthony Albanese, to wrest a slim majority.
The Liberals, the conservative party that led a coalition government for the last nine years had their worst election in decades. They recorded around 24% of the votes, with the Australian Labor party winning around 33%.
This could hand the party, led by new prime minister Anthony Albanese, a slim majority. The election also saw the rise of “teal” independents, the name given to a group of mostly female centrist candidates.
The economy and inflation featured strongly in the election campaign, but so too did climate policy, driven by a spate of destructive floods and forest fires in recent years. “Climate policy was one of the most significant factors in the election results,” comments Elizabeth New, interim head of the school of chemistry at the University of Sydney.
‘The Greens gained two coalition-held seats in Queensland, and the teal independents – who had strong climate policies – unseated a further six coalition MPs in New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia.’
There is cagey optimism among many researchers about the new government’s attitude to basic science. Public funding of research has been stagnant in Australia, and the government’s focus has leaned toward applied, industrially led research.
“While the previous government maintained its broad support for Australian research, it deprioritized fundamental research and was in some cases hostile, such as for climate science,” notes Gwilym Croucher, a higher education policy expert at the University of Melbourne.