POLITICS

De-Fake The Advice. Pollies Told To Listen To Science More

The people say so.

19/04/2017 2:43 PM AEST | Updated 19/04/2017 2:50 PM AEST
Australian Institute of Marine Science
Scientists from AIMS (Australian Institute of Marine Science) taking core samples from brain corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

CANBERRA -- It seems a no brainer right? A message for politicians to use the best brains around.

If not their own, why not rely on experts from the government's own science agency CSIRO or Australia's many world class universities?

But the latest ANUPoll, conducted by the Australian National University, has found 82 per cent of the 1202 people surveyed - that's four in every five people - believe that politicians should rely more on expert scientific advice.

The key there is the word "more".

"What we find here is unsinkably high support for science as concept," lead researcher Dr Jill Sheppard told The Huffington Post Australia.

Two thirds (67 per cent) of Australians believe science is best funded by government, rather than by private investment.

"We kind of like the idea of science, but we need to be constantly convinced that it is worth spending money on," she said.

The Turnbull Government is committed to the National Innovation and Science Agenda and, in BREAKING NEWS, a Cabinet Minister has come out as a climate science believer.

Exactly a year ago, Nash said there were "varying views" on climate science and she was of the opinion it was still up for debate, but it was a different story at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

"The science is settled, but our view is consistent as it has been in the past," Nash told the Canberra crowd.

The latter part of that statement was the Nationals position on a carbon tax.

But while there may be one fewer climate sceptics in federal parliament, they are still there and some, such as One Nation's Malcolm Roberts, have very loud, voices that reject science.

There is a trust factor with scientists that politicians can only look at with envy.

"It has finally hit home in Australia. We actually have to reach out to people and we have to sell policies," Sheppard told HuffPost Australia. "And we have to engage people with our democratic processes."

"Maybe it is time to turn more to scientists. Maybe we are happy with a more expert led policy making."

"There is an opportunity there and it ties into the idea of post-truth."

Sheppard warns against becoming complacent.

"I was relatively unsurprised by the response (that 82 per cent of respondents want politicians to rely more on science), but then I was talking to (ANU Vice Chancellor) Brian Schmidt this morning and he said you would not get this in America."

"It seems like the most logical thing in the world, In Australia, that government members and policy makers would listen to scientists. We have the CSIRO. We have these embedded connections to science and government."

"But internationally, that is actually quite rare."

The ANU poll also found 94 per cent of those surveyed believe scientists and industry should cooperate more with each other.

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