Home Technology Science meets parliament 2022: day one

Science meets parliament 2022: day one


The first day of the twenty-second Australian Scientific Meetings in Parliament was a great start to what promises to be an incredible week.

Our delegates began the day with a warm welcome to the country by Uncle Ngunaval Wali Bell with the message “Respect the country, listen to the country and show respect for others in the country.”

Officially opening the event, Science Minister Melissa Price thanked scientists and technologists for their role in the face of huge challenges – and for sharing their deep experience with politicians. “You are key to addressing the various challenges facing Australia today.”

Shadow Science Minister Richard Marles welcomed delegates with a message that science and technology are key to building a more complex economy, and where modernity is, prosperity. “There has never been a more important time to be part of the scientific community.”

Opening: Laureate Professor Peter Doherty

In a virtual conversation by the fireplace, Nobel laureate Professor Peter Doherty called on scientists to create a career with deep social impact, always explaining “what you are and who you are.” He noted how important it is for the world of science to “smartly and well” interact with those who doubt science: “You can’t convince everyone, but you can respectfully involve everyone.”

New in Canberra: how parliament, public service and policy-making work

Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources David Fredericks called on delegates to “find STEM champions” in the civil service, recalling that building strong trust with decision-makers is key to effective policy-making. “In essence, politics is a matter for the people.”

To influence policy, Digi managing director Sunita Boz urged delegates to “find out who makes the decisions” and “make themselves invaluable friends of the process”.

Accenture CEO Amit Singh urged delegates to bring small, easy-to-learn facts to the meeting: “You know, as they always say, you should never take a knife to a shootout? You must always accept the deadly fact for the political struggle. “

The Executive Director of the Australian University Technology Network Luke Sheehy reminded delegates to be concise and use the proper level of evidence. “The data and facts are very beautiful, but if there are too many, they are lost.”

Our own Secretary of Science and Technology of Australia Jass Chambers reminded delegates to “read the room”, enchant and disarm, and use expert networks.

Practice your performance

To explain science in the most compelling way, former Australian Vice President of Science and Technology Tanya Ha noted that “enthusiasm is key, know your audience and make it friendly”.

Cooperative Research Australia Director General Jane O’Dwyer reminded delegates to “practice, practice, practice our performances”, be yourself (fun, quirky, real, memorable) and answer the key question: “Why should anyone be interested?”

ATSE Policy Director Peter Derbyshire told delegates to “be concise, make it a conversation, not a lecture, and read the play.”

The Vice President of Science and Technology of Australia and Chair of the Session Dr Anita Go reminded the delegates that “the brain loves stories” and urged them to “confirm our material”.


Finally, in her keynote address to the welcome reception and prompt networking event, Australia’s Chief Research Fellow Dr. Katie Foley reminded delegates that the work of science is crucial to the nation.

“Be open to different ideas and perspectives because it’s very important to create new opportunities.”


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