Federal Election 2019: Meet the Science Party!

Summary

Website: https://www.scienceparty.org.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SciencePartyAus/
Previous name:
Future Party
Slogans:
Principles. Evidence. Progress.
Themes: Science, technology, innovation.  Generally progressive policies, extremely ambitious climate change plan, good on equality, excited about space, driverless cars and building a charter city called Turing.
Electorate:
Upper House: NSW
Lower House: Berowra, Grayndler, Kingsford Smith, Mallee, Perth Sydney, Watson
Preferences: The Science Party is standing only in NSW, and I haven’t found their Lower House tickets yet. In the Senate, they are preferencing the Australian Democrats, Animal Justice, Independents for Climate Action Now, the Greens, and Labor.  So a fairly standard left/progressive ticket, with a strong leaning towards climate change policy.
Previous reviews

Policies & Commentary

I have been saving the Science Party until last because it was such good fun last time, and I am desperately hoping that it will not disappoint me.  Don’t let me down, science people!  This has been a long journey, and I deserve some fun at the end of it!

Their front page has a really long series of rotating banners, all of which are also quite long.  These are the sorts of people who are always over the character count in RGMS, I can tell.  Most of them are policy summaries, but the first one echoes their slogan:

A vision for the future, based on principles and progress.

They then go directly on to their vision:

Our quality of life is improved by the continued application of reason and by scientific discovery.

The Science Party aims to increase the opportunity for individuals and push society towards the pursuit of knowledge for the benefit of all of humanity.

They really should run candidates in Victoria – we have so many medical research institutes here, they’d be totally into this.

The Science Party then gets into ‘What We’ll Do’, with bullet points in the areas of Science and Technology, Education, Rights, Government, Economy and Environment & Infrastructure.  The bullet points are all progressive in nature, and include a bullet train, which will make a lot of people I know very happy.

Their Principles are illustrated by a colourful infographic showing twelve principles:

  • Science and Technology – to improve the quality of life for all people
  • Education – to drive social mobility, promote critical thinking and enhance skills
  • Environmental protection – for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations
  • Economic development and progress – through intelligent regulation and simpler, fairer taxes
  • Public healthcare – to improve and extend people’s lives
  • Evidence-based policies – that are based on reason and the best available science
  • Open and efficient government – to end corruption and reduce waste
  • A compassionate safety net – that helps people in need
  • Migration – to enrich the Australian community, economy and the lives of migrants
  • Individual freedoms – including freedom of speech, sexuality and association
  • Ending discrimination – based on gender, sexual orientation, race, age and religion
  • Secular government – to ensure fairness and freedom of beliefs

That’s a pretty comprehensive set of principles, and if they were running in my seat I’d be very inclined to vote for them on that basis.

The Science Party has an equal opportunity statement, telling us that they aim for ‘proportionate representation among our candidates, executive and officebearers — in areas including sex and gender, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic background, disability status and age’.  This is an excellent statement to make, but also a dangerous one as it causes people like me to go straight to their Candidates page, count up their candidates and notice that only three of their eleven candidates are women (though one of these is their lead senate candidate), and nine of them are white.  So there is a bit of room for improvement here.

But let’s take a look at their (many, many) policies, starting with Education.  I need to say – even the short versions of their policies are quite long, and there are a LOT of policies.  Due to time constraints, I won’t be able to dig as deep into these as I’d like, because I would very much like to get some sleep tonight.

The Science Party believes that education gives minds, young and old, the language to dream their future, and the inquisitiveness to bring it about. Education, by its very nature, is the ultimate plan for the future; it is the belief that time and effort spent learning today will be justified multiple times over by the gains it will produce in the future. Today’s students are tomorrow’ scientists, engineers, artists, writers and leaders. Education is also the method by which individuals can better themselves and society in the process, and is a method by which we can end the poverty cycle.

I like this a lot – I do think that education is one of the most fundamental and important rights, because without it, it’s very hard to move forward.

They want more funding for schools, particularly State schools and schools in areas with low socioeconomic status – their view is that ‘public funding of education helps to lessen entrenched disadvantage and helps to advance society as a whole’.  They want a national curriculum, and to pay teachers when they create resources (lesson plans, worksheets, projects) that are shared and used by others.  I like this idea in theory, but I also think there is something to be said for teachers creating their own lesson plans, because that ensures that they understand them?  They also want to use technology to support better interactions between schools.  I’m getting a sense of a school system that is almost a single, gigantic, virtual classroom, nationwide, with shared teachers and resources, and I’m trying to work out whether this would be a good thing or a bad thing.

They want to create ‘Extension School’ as an after school activity that could either give extra help to struggling kids or more challenging material to kids who are ahead of the pack, and they want to get computer programming onto the curriculum, and have more mandatory STEM subjects.

The Science Party also wants incentives to get experienced teachers into schools that are disadvantaged and hard to staff, which I think is a good idea.

The Science Party wants to replace school chaplains with school counsellors, and teach ethics, not religious education in schools (RE can be taught outside school hours).  They want age-appropriate sex and relationship education with a focus on consent, and it needs to be inclusive of LGBTQIA+ people.

The Science Party wants to end single-sex education in public schools, because they feel the evidence suggests that there is no advantage to it.  A quick scan of the studies I could find on it suggests that the jury is still out on that – but I’m probably biased, because I found that I did far better and was far happier at a single sex school than at a co-ed one in my teens.  Anyway, this policy doesn’t especially thrill me.

They want more funding for vocational and tertiary education, and they oppose deregulation of university fees, adding interest to HECS or HELP loans, and lowering the repayment threshold.

I quite like all these policies, but I do wonder if they have discussed them with many teachers?

On Childcare, they want to subsidise it and remove means testing.  They are happy with current national childcare standards, and feel that the priority is making sure that all parents can access it.  I would like to see a nod to raising salaries of childcare workers here, but it is not to be.

The Science Party has a policy on Science, starting with wanting a dedicated Science Minister, who will oversee

  • Appropriate funding in line with the Science party policy;
  • Science and technology research;
  • Direct links with the Education, innovation, industry and business ministers and portfolios;
  • Regular and direct links with the Chief scientist of Australia and the state and territory chief scientists;
  • Regular and direct contact with the Australian space agency, ASTRA.

And about time too.  We shouldn’t have gotten rid of that ministry in the first place.  They also want a Minister for Innovation and Industry, and they want to douuble government funding for scientific and technological research.

The Science Party wants Australia to be a place that is known for its science and technology sector. To do this, we need to build a strong research industry, while training people to have the skills that this industry will require.

Among OECD nations, Australia is among the lowest for public spending on research. Doubling our current figure will put us near the top of this list.

The Science Party are quite interested in Nuclear research, and want to maintain existing facilities at the Open Pool Australian Lightwater Reactor.

They also want all publicly funded publications to be open access.  They note that the ARC and NHMRC do have a policy saying that Open Access is required no later than 1 year post publication, and that we have to explain if this is not possible for ‘legal or contractual obligations’, but they think a year is too long, because it stalls progress.  I agree with them, but I don’t know how they plan to fix that one, because part of my job is trying to help scientists comply with this rule and the biggest barrier to this is journals who refuse to release publications into the wild.  There are some workarounds for this, but they are pretty cumbersome, and I don’t know if they are even allowed in all situations.  So this is a good policy, but I don’t know how you make it happen.

I’m going to skip across to some related policies now, such as the Science Policy’s policy on Space.  They want to establish an Australian Space Technology and Research Agency, called ASTRA (I see what you did there), and become an associated member of the European Space Agency (much like we managed to get membership of Eurovision?).

Disappointingly, this is not about generation ships and sending humans to other planets, and the Science Party informs me that:

Space technologies are an integral part of our lives today, even if we don’t realise it. Modern economies would fail without space assets such as GPS that not only help us navigate, but also provide precision timing for almost all critical infrastructure sectors. Development in space research and related fields has already provided us with new technology in the fields of communication, transportation, energy, physics and biology, and offers further exciting opportunities for humanity to advance itself in the future.

Essentially, they feel that Australia needs to become a part of this industry, rather than just a consumer of it, and they point out that this would have technological and economic benefits.  I’m still sulking because I was getting all excited about spaceships and holidays on the Moon.

The Science Party has a good policy on the Environment, which begins with ‘Swift and decisive action to mitigate the risks associated with climate change’.

Australia must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and ideally export technology to assist other countries to do so. Emissions from all sectors must be addressed, and consideration should also be given to carbon sequestration methods. Given our current climate trajectory, we also need to direct some resources to climate adaptation.

You will get no argument from me.  They want a cap-and-trade ETS, more research funding, including into geoengineering, which is apparently large scale climate modification, and I’m feeling happier again, because we seem to be back into science fiction territory which is what I was looking for from this party.

We unequivocally oppose conducting any large geoengineering interventions until very thorough research is complete on the risks and alternatives

There’s a short story in that, for sure.

They note that Climate Change is not a purely environmental problem, and that we have to address health and economic fallout.  They also point out that ‘we cannot expect countries that are poorer and emit less per capita than us to make serious efforts to limit their emissions before we do.  Cutting our emissions now is the minimum gesture required to establish good faith for negotiations for other countries to limit and cut theirs.’

This is an insight that has been missing from quite a few small party platforms on this subject.

I do note, however, that their policy does not name a target figure for reductions.  Ah, that’s because it’s way over here in the Energy policy.  And their target is the most ambitious yet – 800% of Australia’s electricity demand, so that it becomes a major export, particularly to countries such as Japan and Korea.  They also say, pointedly, that

Previous parliaments have voted against effective carbon prices, rejecting good solutions while holding out for a perfect solution. The Science Party will take any small step in the direction of progress, and then continue to negotiate for better solutions as they become available.

Take that, Australian Greens.

The Science Party feels that our unique mix of natural renewable resources gives us a big advantage here, and we should use it.  They are into electric cars, a renewable hydrogen and ammonia energy industry (I’ve not even heard of the latter, and I must admit, my first thought is ‘wouldn’t that *smell*?’), and they want to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies.

They are aware of the need for grid reliability, and want to construct storage mechanisms like pumped hydro, microgrids, and batteries.

And they want to harness nuclear fusion!  The Science Party feels that nuclear energy is important, and that the risks in Australia are low, because we are in a tectonically stable zone, and that  modern reactors and control systems are pretty safe.  And nuclear fusion doesn’t produce a lot of waste, apparently.  Oh, and they do not like nuclear weapons one bit, and apparently an advantage of nuclear fusion is that the spent fuel can’t be used for those.  I’ll have to take their word for that.

The Science Party values biodiversity and wants to end logging of native forests.  They are quite comfortable with GMOs, but they do want to make sure there is proper regulation and research.

Under Health, the Science Party supports universal healthcare and dental care, and while they don’t want to change the current hybrid system of public and private care, they support further investment in Medicare.  They want to treat aging as a disease, and feel that preventative care should be a core focus of the health care system.  They strongly support electronic health records, but they should be opt-in, be secure, and basically, they shouldn’t be My Health.

They support healthy eating and accurate food labelling laws, and as a foodie, I like this bit:

Publications will be produced that will focus on cheap, easy to prepare and healthy meals from a variety of cultures in Australia.

I’d buy that cookbook.

(OK, I’d buy almost any cookbook that fluttered its recipes at me, so that’s not really saying a lot…)

They want an opt-in health monitoring system, that sounds a lot like  FitBit that talks to your e-health record.

On drugs and alcohol, the Science Party is big on harm minimisation and decriminalisation, with better services for rehab and other treatments.  They would also like to do research into how drugs impair driving, and into medical uses for currently illicit drugs (e.g. marijuana for managing chronic pain).  And HEMP would like this bit:

Regarding impairment, the detection of a substance in saliva is poorly indicative of driving impairment. It is also worth noting that fatigue accounts for more fatal road accidents than drink driving or drug driving, yet there are no tools currently used by police to detect even severe fatigue.

The Science Party supports medically-supervised injecting centres, and they are in favour of e-cigarettes.

On Mental Health, the Science Party wants more early intervention and intermediate-level mental health services that are publicly funded.

Most resources in Mental Health in Australia are invested in high level acute care – primarily, people undergoing emergencies requiring treatment in psychiatric hospitals; and in low level care – treatment of low to moderately severe cases of anxiety and depression in the general population, by general practitioners and psychologists. There are few publicly funded treatment services available that fall between these levels of care. Specifically, there are relatively few services for people suffering serious chronic mental health conditions who are not experiencing an acute episode. Given the large costs to both the individual and society of responding to and treating psychiatric emergencies, the Science Party supports the provision of more medium level services to reduce the incidence of acute ill health, and to enable the chronically mentally ill to be productive and flourishing members of society.

They also want to train frontline public health sector and government employees – including Centrelink staff – in Mental Health First Aid.

The Science Party wants to legalise abortion, put it on Medicare, and make the laws consistent around Australia.  They have some restrictions for late abortions, mostly around making sure that the pregnant woman has the information she needs, and that the procedure would be less risky to her physical and mental health than would continuing the pregnancy.  And providers should not be able to refuse clinical procedures on religious grounds.

That last one, I have mixed feelings about.  I think if someone is absolutely anti-abortion, I wouldn’t necessarily trust them to perform an abortion (I mean, setting aside the ethical qualms of the provider, if they are that staunchly against it, do they even have the training or current clinical experience?  I can see this posing a risk to the patient even if the doctor is doing their best to act ethically and within the law.) – but they should and must refer patients to someone who can.

They take a dim view of ‘gay conversion therapy’ and want to allow members of the public to make complaints about such providers to the Health Commissioner or Ombudsman. They also want to ban non-therapeutic surgical procedures (circumcision, female genital mutilation) on children too young to consent.

OK, on to less science-ish things.  On the Economy, the Science Party are pro-capitalism, but not libertarian-style capitalism, and they definitely do not like monopolis.  They view taxes a a plan for the future:

We give up some money today in tax, with the aim that in the future our country will be safer (defense and police), our future health care will be met, our children will have a future worth looking forward to (education) and the Earth itself is left in a condition that is pleasing to the future generations (environment)

They would like the government to invest in that future via infrastructure.  They would also like support for startups in a number of forms including basic income grants for very early stage startup founders.  Also, they want more flexible migration arrangements for people in STEM.

On Tax, Superannuation and Welfare, the Science Party tells us

The Science Party is committed to taxation reform. We believe in reforming the taxation system to make it more equitable, less complicated and hence less wasteful. We also believe the welfare system can be reformed to reduce disincentives to return to work. The tax system should also be structured in a way such that governments don’t have a conflict of interest when dealing with taxes on activities that have negative effects on the individual and hence follow-on costs to society.

They are OK with negative gearing, but feel that we need to abolish the 50% capital gains tax discount on assets held for more than a year.  Actually, let’s skip over to housing, which is one of their shorter policies…. ah yes, they are worried about affordability, and also want to stamp out stamp duty (sorry, couldn’t help myself).  They also want to loosen height and density restrictions.  And they want to build a new city, which we will come back to shortly.

Back to tax, which is less exciting than new cities.  They want to remove the concessional superannuation contribution cap, to allow those who were unable to make contributions earlier in life to ‘catch up’.

They like the Henry Tax Review, and want to phase in a land tax, to capture ‘a portion of the pure economic rent derived from land ownership’, but they want to make sure that loans are available for landowners who have assets but little income, such as pensioners.  They want to increase the tax-free threshold to $26,969, which is the current poverty line for a single person in the workforce.  From there to $180,000, the tax rate would be 35%; for dollars earned above $180,000, it would be 45%.

The Science Party wants to raise Newstart by $75 per week, noting that

The bulk of the increase in these payments (approximately $3 billion per year) will be spent by recipients in their local economy. Raising the rate also has the potential to reduce recipients’ reliance on other subsidised services.

They want to stop robodebt and mandatory cashless welfare, and remove welfare traps.

When a person earns an extra of dollar through work, some of that income is taken by the government directly in the form of income tax. The percentage of the extra dollar taken is called the marginal tax rate. But frequently there are other financial penalties imposed on additional income by the government, beyond taxation. The person may lose some or all of their welfare payments, such as Newstart allowance. They may also lose eligibility for free or subsidised government services—including healthcare, childcare, housing, or transport—requiring them to pay more, thus losing more money. Sometimes these eligibility criteria are based on hours worked rather than dollars earned, but the effective result is the same. The total percentage of all the losses caused by earning a marginal dollar is called the effective marginal tax rate.

In these even more absurd scenarios, a person does not merely fail to benefit from working harder; they are punished for it. High effective marginal tax rates tend to most dramatically affect the least well off members of society—the people who are most financially vulnerable to its effects, and who stand to gain the most from the dignity and empowerment of paid employment.

The Science Party therefore supports increasing the benefit paid to people at the border of being on welfare rather than reducing it, allowing people to move off welfare more quickly, because they don’t have barriers to earning more.

The Science Party wants an independent body to set taxes for things like gambling, tobacco and alcohol, because they feel that when the ‘sin’ taxes are set by the government, this provides a disincentive to come up with policy that would stop the behaviour.

Finally, they feel that only the charitable portions of a religious organisation’s activities should qualify for tax exemption.

Let’s segue from here into Freedom and Rights.

Freedom of thought and speech is a requirement for discussions that advance human knowledge and well-being in all fields. People should feel free to speak against the government, established ideologies, religions and current cultural dogma. This freedom of speech should come without fear of retribution or penalty under law. Polite discourse when challenging ideas is recommended, but not a requirement for free speech.

This could get interesting.

The Science Party wants a Charter of Rights, including

  • The right to not be detained indefinitely;
  • The right to privacy;
  • Freedom of association; and
  • Freedom of speech (where that speech does not incite violence against, harass or vilify others).

They are very big on Net Neutrality and online privacy, and – skipping across to their Communication policy – they oppose over-regulation and censoring of the internet. (They also want a proper NBN.  Don’t we all?)

The Science Party is against discrimination, and in favour of marriage equality.  They believe that euthanasia should be legal, but would create a new offense criminalising the coercion of individuals into using physician-assisted dying services.

They want to get religion out of government, and fair enough too.

On Law and Order, they like spelling jail ‘gaol’, which is 100% cooler and endorsed by me as a policy.

Also, they want to increase rehabilitation and decrease recidivism, but it’s 11:30 on a Friday night and I’m more interested in fancy spelling.

But returning to the actual policy, the Science Party wants to provide more access to education while incarcerated, and to make it easier to find employment after leaving gaol.

Individuals who leave gaol should be supported upon their release by giving a grant to their first employer following release of a fraction of their income for 3 months, to give the individual access to immediate employment upon leaving the gaol system. By giving offenders’ employers this grant, it reduces the barrier to re-entry into the workforce. Failing to re-enter the workforce can be a path to recidivism. By reducing recidivism, we will reduce the amount of crime in the community, reduce the cost of policing crime, decrease the cost of running the gaol system, decrease the economic losses of having a lot of humans being idle in the gaol system, and reduce discrimination in society (as some groups are, unfortunately, overrepresented in the gaol system).

This is a pretty good idea, I think.

They want to make all ministers of religion mandatory reporters.  Yes, even when it comes to what is said in the confessional.  I’m uneasy about this, but given the Catholic church’s recent history, I can see where they are coming from.  If the church refuses to police itself, then it must submit to external regulation.  The welfare of children is paramount (e.g. Matthew 18:6).

The Science Party is concerned about the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in prison, and in deaths in custody.  Also, they want a treaty – or rather treaties – with indigenous groups throughout Australia.  (They do not propose this as a solution to the problem, I just thought I might as well segue into the section on Aboriginal affairs).  Their policies in the area of ATSI Australians are less prescriptive and more things that should be discussed – context seems to be that the people writing this know that they aren’t ATSI themselves and haven’t had a chance to consult yet – but items include an Aboriginal embassy, a review and update of our cultural identity, including indigenous language, culture, arts and history into our education system; better representation in government; and compensation for past injustices.

On Democracy, the Science Party are generally happy with the Westminster system, but would like tomake the Governor General an elected role (requiring a 2/3 majority of a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament), and remove the Queen from the equation entirely.

They want to make political donations smaller and more transparent, they want the process of government to be more transparent, they want whistleblower protection, and you know what else they want, don’t you?  Of course you do.  They want an ICAC!  Drink!

They want larger, multi-member seats in the house of representatives, elected by proportional representation:

Multi-member seats have 3 primary advantages:

  • It allows smaller parties that hold a significant vote to be represented in parliament. The current system prefers the creation of a two party system.
  • It is more representative of the proportion of people who vote for each political party.
  • It prevents ‘swing-seat’ elections where the majority of areas are ignored during an election because they are considered ‘safe’. Such swing-seat elections simply pander to a small group of people while not considering the wider implication of policies on the ‘safe’ areas.

As a lifetime resident of safe seats, I really, really like this idea.

They also want a single national electorate for the Senate, because they feel that some states get rather more than their per capita share of senators (Hi, Tasmania!).

They want a hybrid electronic/paper voting system, that would provide space to check the votes while still counting them faster.  I’m not sold on this – we are actually pretty efficient at counting votes, and I like the transparency of having real humans watching and checking other real humans throughout the process.  It’s much harder to program a human with malware than a computer.

They also want to be a bit kinder about section 44 and dual citizenship.  Essentially, they feel that one shouldn’t have to renounce one’s citizenship until one has actually been elected (but should immediately do so at that point).  I completely agree with this policy.

The Science Party doesn’t like war and feels that we are better off relying on having a good reputation and relationships with regional partners.  They want a global convention on the use of autonomous weapons, and they want to hold national secrets only for as long as they are operationally necessary.

The Science Party has a policy on animal welfare, which permits the use of animals in research under the current NHMRC guidelines (which call for replacement, reduction and refinement to minimise the numbers and suffering of animals used).  They want to invest in developing in vitro meat, and I don’t know why that makes me want to be vegetarian, but it does.  They want an independent office for animal welfare, an end to battery cages, sow stalls and live exports, and better labelling of animal products that give more transparency regarding the welfare of the animals concerned.  The Science Party also wants to suspend greyhound racing and ban horse jumps racing.

Basically, they are like a saner version of the AJP.

On Regional Australia, the Science Party wants to encourage doctors, teachers, and front line government workers to move to regional areas by paying them more.  This sounds like a pretty good idea.  They also want to provide financial incentives to universities who can deliver online education to students in remote areas, with on-campus attendance of no more than three weeks per year.  I actually did a degree that worked like this, and I have to say, it was very well-delivered and I learned a lot – high quality education can be delivered that way, though I can see that there are a number of subjects (scientific subjects with a large practical component, for example) where this would not be feasible.

They feel that remotely piloted aircraft can be quite useful for farmers, and would reduce regulation of such aircraft in regional areas.  However, they are the first party I have seen that wants to *remove* trade barriers.

Much of the developed world is in economic turmoil, austerity measures are common, while unemployment soars and budget deficits balloon. Yet taxpayers in the European Union and United States continue to subsidise their agricultural sectors to the tune of billions of dollars per year. The major beneficiaries are large agribusinesses, while the consumers of those countries pay from a lack of competition in food markets.

What’s worse, this protectionism harms agricultural exporting nations – which includes Australia, as well as many of the world’s poorest nations. It’s free trade for the U.S. and E.U., and unfree trade for the rest of us.

The highly efficient and competitive, technologically advanced farmers of Australia, the impoverished farmers of the developing world, and hundreds of millions of Americans and Europeans as both consumers and taxpayers, are losing out under these immoral trade policies.

I mean, this sounds good in principle, but can we actually get them to do that?  I can see why other parties have instead advocated for us to add our own tariffs to imports.

On Transportation, we are getting very science fictional, with driverless cars and high speed rail.  I’m there for the bullet train along the East Coast of Australia, but I’m not so sure about the driverless cars – they aren’t safe yet, and, specifically, they are not good at coping with Australian conditions.  Kangaroos completely flummox them, for example, because they up and down movement translates to an appearance of being closer and further away…

They want better transport infrastructure and more railways within cities.  It’s all a bit Sydney-centric, and I’d really like to see a strong policy on infrastructure and transport for rural areas.

On Immigration, the Science Party wants to increase migration and grow Australia. But let’s deal with the smaller bits and pieces first.  First, they want to close all offshore detention centres and incrase our humanitarian intake.  They also want a new class of sponsored compassionate visa with limited access to public services for people who would normally be prevented from receiving a family reunion visa due to ill health.  This seems pragmatic, but not quite right to me – we don’t have *that* many people bringing their sick and disabled family members here, and I feel like we can afford to look after them when they come.  They also want to make it easier for New Zealanders to become citizens of Australlia.

Which brings us to the last of Science Australia’s policy, which is to establish a new charter city called Turing.

This city will:

  • Lie between Sydney and Canberra on a high speed rail line.
  • Be established as a university town, focusing on low-capital-cost science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.
  • Have a mandated high population density (for example, 50 000 people per square kilometre).
  • Be designed from the outset to reduce surface congestion by creating subterranean roadways, which will increase surface area that is available to public space and parks
  • Be developed primarily through private investment and for private sale
  • Have slightly different immigration rules to the rest of Australia, allowing the city to grow in size, while allowing Australia to take advantage of the large number of potential immigrants that Australia turns away under current immigration rules.

I love this idea.   Though… why not between Canberra and Melbourne?  There’s lots more space…

They hope that by establishing a technologically focused university, they will drive the establishment of our own ‘Silicon Valley’.  By building a city from scratch, they can make it high-density, and encourage walking and bike riding as the primary methods of transport.  Non-building open space will be footpaths, bike paths and parks.

Buildings will be placed in North-South running rows to ensure that the majority of apartments receive direct sunlight on their windows for at least 2 hours in the day, averaged over the year.

OK, actually, that doesn’t sound like anywhere near enough sunlight, to be honest…

The city will have underground tunnels used by high-speed driverless cars, because of course it will.

People will own shares of the building they live in, which will be set up as a building company, and they can trade the shares when they move.

It’s all very futuristic and science fiction, and I’d really like to know whether it could work in real life.  But I’m rather worried about that mere 2 hours of sunlight per day.

And that brings us to the end of the Science Parties policies, and indeed, to the end of these reviews (though I still have a handful more essays to write over the next week).  I’m a bit sad that the Science Party doesn’t have any candidates in my area, because the combination of idealism and hard science is pretty irresistible.  I do feel that there is perhaps a lack of real-world expertise here, and I don’t think I’d want to put them in charge just yet – but I would love to see them on the cross bench.

Eurovision Theme Song as determined by me, very objectively

You need something properly futuristic for a party like this one.  I thought about Moldova’s 2017 song, Space, which does use a lot of space metaphors, mostly for sex, but I felt like it didn’t have the right feel.  Germany’s song winning from 2010, Satellite, is fabulous but a little bit too mainstream for this lot.

Which leaves us with San Marino’s song from last year.  It’s not so much the lyrics as the staging, really.  I feel that the Science Party are precisely the sort of people who would send dancing robots to Eurovision.  They would probably send them there in driverless cars through underground tunnels…

4 thoughts on “Federal Election 2019: Meet the Science Party!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.