I have long argued that getting more scientists into parliament would help the governance of this country. For a start, anything that increases the diversity from lawyers and political staffers is probably a good thing. Moreover, many scientists will have inside knowledge of important issue the parliament needs to tackle. Most importantly, the capacity to weigh evidence and get to the heart of complex issues should stand people in good stead even in areas about which they know nothing.
Dennis Jensen has proven something of a problem for this view. As one of the most offensive and pig-ignorant members of parliament the fact that he has postgraduate qualifications in physics is a standing example that scientists are not always good at, well anything else.
So I was particularly delighted to come across this speech by long serving New Zealand National Party MP Maurice Williamson on the occasion of that country joining the 21st century on equal marriage. Not only is it funny and charming and well worth watching, but he reveals that he has a physics degree (although Wikipedia says applied maths). Presumably there are reasons why he is in the Nationals, and plenty of points with which I would disagree with him, but what he has to say here is a credit to scientist-politicians.
While on the topic of the passage of that bill, it really is worth thinking about how far behind Australia is. It’s embarrassing enough that a far more rural nation like New Zealand where such a large portion of the young people have left for
greener browner pastures can beat us to a piece of basic human decency. The fact that the legislation passed 77 to 44 is pretty revealing as well. But it is perhaps more important to note that Australia may well end up being the last developed nation, with the possible exception of Ireland, to implement same sex marriage other than those that were part of the Soviet block a generation ago.
An Abbott government will return us to our status as a pariah nation when it comes to climate change – possibly the pariah nation if Harper loses the next election. However, that is at least understandable for a huge coal exporter, awful as it is. What is the excuse for being so backward when it comes to sexuality? All those people planning to leave if Abbott gets elected might want to think about the kind of reception they will get when they tell people where they are from, and start learning to say fush and chups.