[ASC-list] Science lobby groups

Toss Gascoigne director at tossgascoigne.com.au
Thu Apr 7 08:00:24 UTC 2011

FASTS (the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological  
Societies) was formed in 1985 to lobby Government.

It was expected to be more rowdy and less respectable than the Academy  
of Science: science's own pit-bull terrier.  Apart from limited  
support in the foundation year, FASTS was ruggedly independent.

The question of independence and Government money was regularly  
debated at FASTS' Board meetings, especially in the hard times when  
the organisation came close to folding in 1994-6.  But it survived  
without Government money.  The sole source of income was membership  
fees, and from 1999, sponsorship for its "Science meets Parliament"  
event (including a small amount from the Federal Minister).

But then CHASS (the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social  
Sciences) came along, in 2002.  It sought and was given a one year  
grant of $200,000 from Government to get underway.  The argument used  
was that CHASS would be a funnel of advice from this sector back to  
Government, and therefore useful in terms of policy formation.

Minister Brendan Nelson subsequently (and without being asked)  
extended this into 5 year's worth of funding.  To be even-handed, he  
gave the same deal to FASTS, apparently without consulting them.

So to Susan's implied question: does this make for tamer lobby groups?

The answer is yes.

Toss Gascoigne
(former ED FASTS 1995-2003, former ED CHASS 2004-8)

Toss Gascoigne and Associates
56 Vasey Cres

P. 02 6249 7400
M. 0408 704 442
E. director at tossgascoigne.com.au
W. tossgascoigne.com.au
Skype. tossgascoigne

ABN:  31 068 557 522

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