Does Australia’s innovation policy need a reboot?

prototype-ian-chubb-abc-panelFormer Chief Scientist Ian Chubb has blasted career politicians, especially those looking after science, technology and innovation policy. The portfolio for future industry has been something of a revolving door over the past several years.

Speaking about the long list of short-term Ministers, Professor Chubb told the National Press Club that successive yearlong appointments by politicians with no background in industry or technology has yielded poor results for Australia’s economy. “They should be required to articulate their goals for their portfolio and report publicly and formally on their progress on an annual basis, explaining to us Australians … the relationship between what they said they would do and what they actually did.”

In the presentation titled Rebooting Australian Democracy: Renewing Faith with Voters, Chubb recommended some targeted on-the-job training for Ministers on “how to distinguish evidence from snake oil, how to distinguish the genuine from the noisy” and a crash course on statistics and probability. “The MPs who chose not to attend, or who appeared to think that understanding was not relevant to the policies on which they vote, should be listed publicly.”

Minister Karen Andrews, the member for McPherson in Queensland, is a rare mechanical engineer in Parliament. Chubb’s criticism appears aimed not at Andrews, but at the idea that changing seven ministers over five years while he was Chief Scientist was no way to build national capacity.

Read more: ABC iView / The Conversation / The Mandarin

Image: National Press Club/ABC

This story is taken from the 14 August 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.