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Shorten’s call to arms for scientists

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Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has urged scientists to become more involved in politics, telling them if science funding is to become a national issue “Australia needs you”.

Mr Shorten, who took on the shadow science portfolio when he became leader, said scientists’ input was needed if Australia was not to be “stuck on the blocks” in the race for the jobs of the future.

Pointing to the success of National Disability Insurance Scheme campaigners, he said “together they achieved an outcome that would have been impossible alone”.

“The future of Australian science will depend on whether you, and I, can make your cause a national political issue,” Mr Shorten told a conference in Canberra on Monday.

“Australia needs you. It needs you to enter the political debate.”

Asked by reporters if his call to arms risked politicising scientists, Mr Shorten said there was a need for a debate about science funding.

“Not talking about a problem does not mean it is not a problem,” he told reporters after his speech.

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