[ASC-list] ONLINE BRIEFING ALERT: Are they being heard? The role of the Chief Scientist [Wed 9 Mar, 10.30am AEDT]

Susannah Eliott SEliott at aussmc.org
Tue Mar 8 01:44:05 UTC 2011

Dear ASCers, 

Those interested in the role of the chief scientist (as per earlier
email traffic on the ASC list) might find this online briefing
informative. Feel free to join us tomorrow using the links below (there
will be an opportunity to ask questions, though priority will need to be
given to questions from news reporters).


All the best,




Australian Science Media Centre

MEDIA ALERT:  Are they being heard? The role of the Chief Scientist 


The sudden departure of the Chief Scientist, Penny Sackett, last week
has left many wondering about this advisory role in Australian politics.
Are we making the best use of our senior science advisors? Penny Sackett
was asked to brief Kevin Rudd once and Julia Gillard not at all during
her two and a half years as Chief Scientist and yet many of the issues
being debated in parliament have strong linkages to science - climate
change, water allocations, carbon pricing, the flood levy, natural
disasters and so on. Are policy debates being properly informed by
science and what is (and what should be) the role of the Chief

The AusSMC has brought together former Chief Scientist, Dr John Stocker
(Chief scientist from 1996 to 1999), former Science Advisor to Brendan
Nelson (2002-2004), Dr Thomas Barlow and CEO of the Federation of
Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS), Anna-Maria
Arabia to discuss this important issue.

The briefing will discuss the following issues:

*         The role of the chief scientist and how it has changed over

*         The independence of the role - should it be more independent
than it is?

*         Are Australian Chief Scientists as high profile as they should
be? How does this compare with countries like the UK and the US?

*         Is there a lack of interest in and respect for scientific
evidence at the senior political level in Australia?

SPEAKERS (bios available on the AusSMC website shortly):

*                     Ms Anna-Maria Arabia, Chief Executive Officer,
Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS).
Anna-Maria Arabia has a background in neuroscience and was a policy
advisor to Kim Beazley and Anthony Albanese.

*                     Dr John Stocker, Foursight Associates. John
Stocker is a well-known immunologist and was Chief Scientist from 1996
to 1999 and Chairman of CSIRO from 2007 to 2010. 

*                     Dr Thomas Barlow, Barlow Advisory Services. Thomas
Barlow was Senior Science Advisor to the Minister for Education, Science
and Training, Brendan Nelson from 2002 to 2004. 


DATE:  Wed 9 March


DURATION: Approx 40 min

VENUE:  Online


Journalists can follow the briefing online via audio and video
streaming.  Each presenter will speak for 5-7 minutes followed by
questions. Journalists will have the opportunity to ask questions

1. Go to the briefing web portal by clicking here 5 minutes before the
start time or anytime during the briefing
<https://aussmcus.webex.com/aussmcus/onstage/g.php?d=828019652&t=a> .
Alternatively go to www.aussmc.org and follow the links.

2. Enter your name and email address

3. Click "Join".

 (System requirements: You will need a broadband connection and
speakers/headphones to hear the event. Allow 1-2 mins for your computer
to be configured correctly, install ActiveX, if asked)

*Note* some Fairfax journalists may not be able to access the online
system due to a firewall issue. 

1. For phone only access please call: 1800 671 909. 

2. Enter access code 828 019 652#. Wait for the prompt and press #. 

Radio stations can also record the briefing over a phone line. If you
would like to make sure that you can connect, please contact us to
arrange a quick test before the day.

If you have any problems joining the briefing online, phone Webex on
1800 12 92 78 quoting event number 828 019 652.

Audio files will be posted on our website at www.aussmc.org as soon as
possible after the event.

For further information, please contact the AusSMC on 08 7120 8666 or
email info at aussmc.org.    

Date issued: 8 March 2011    

Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC)    

Street address: The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place, ADELAIDE  SA

Postal address:  PO Box 237, RUNDLE MALL  SA  5000

Ph: (08) 7120 8666 | Fax: (08) 8231 7333 | info at aussmc.org
<mailto:info at aussmc.org>  | www.aussmc.org <http://www.aussmc.org> 


The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is an independent,
non-profit service for the news media, giving journalists direct access
to evidence-based science and expertise. The national centre is advised
by a Science Advisory Panel and governed by a Board of Management.  It
is supported by a wide variety of sectors with each contribution capped
at 10% of total running costs.  Foundation sponsors are the ABC, APN
News & Media, CSIRO, Fairfax Media Ltd, the Govt of SA, Innovative
Research Universities Australia, Media Monitors, News Ltd, New South
Wales Govt, Orica Ltd, Queensland Govt, ResMed Inc, the Royal
Institution of Australia, the State Govt of Victoria, Network Ten and
the University of Melbourne.  Gold Sponsors are the Australian Academy
of Science, ATSE, Cisco Systems Inc., CSL Ltd, IBM Australia, Shell
Australia Ltd and the University of Adelaide. Supporters include AMTA,
Flinders University, Johnson Winter & Slattery, Microsoft Pty Ltd,
O'Loughlins Lawyers and the Powerhouse Museum.


Disclaimer: Please note that any views expressed are the personal
opinions of the experts named.  They do not represent the views of the
AusSMC or any other organisation unless specifically stated.  The AusSMC
attempts to provide a range of views from the scientific community. 


The AusSMC can help journalists find an expert on a topical area of
science.  For more details, contact us. If you do not wish to receive
further emails from the AusSMC, please reply with "Unsubscribe" in the



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