QUEENSLAND POLICY NETWORK
This page is reserved for dialogue between all those actively interested in public policy-making in Queensland:
- policy officers
- parliamentarians and their advisers
- scientists and other experts
- peak bodies and think tanks
- community groups like the Queensland Science Network; and
- thoughtful laypersons.
These thinkers comprise Queensland’s policy community.
The focus of this page is on evidence-based policy, sensitive to what has been shown by prior scholarly knowledge or practical experience to be effective. It seeks to counter policy-making and decision-making based upon ideology, preconceived positions or single-disciplinary enthusiasms. It is cross-disciplinary and cross-portfolio in outlook. It seeks to counter ‘fake news’.
What distinctive approach can the Royal Society of Queensland bring to policy debate? Since the foundation of the Royal Society in London in 1660, Royal Societies across the world have spoken for and been defenders of the application of scientific method to observable phenomena. Scientific method is the most reliable method that humans have devised for acquiring and building knowledge and to make predictions about the world. Scientific method is a vital tool for problem-solving and decision-making in all fields of public policy: not just those fields that one would normally associate with the natural sciences – such as environment, health, agriculture, technology, energy.
There is another, unique perspective that scientists can contribute to public affairs. The laws of nature – thermodynamics, mathematics, chemistry and other scientific disciplines – are beyond amendment by human agency. Scientific research is confined to discovering, refining and interpreting the fundamental laws of nature, not dreaming up new ones. The maxims of other disciplines such as economics, law and commerce are social constructs and follow human agency.
Since the 1970s, a narrow sub-discipline of economics has gained ascendancy in the Australian and international policy communities, to the neglect of scientific research and the interpretation of evidence according to scientific method. The Royal Society of Queensland advocates a different approach to public policy, one that is unique to the scientific disciplines. The Queensland Policy Network is a loose association of participants in the State’s policy community keen to respect testable evidence and to apply it in their policy activities.
The Queensland Policy Network is at an early stage of its existence and this page is under construction. This page and its sub-pages do not necessarily reflect the policy of The Royal Society of Queensland.
During the past couple of years, the Royal Society has taken initiatives in the following subject fields. Pages have been set out on each of these.
- Electricity regime – the first two events badged under the Queensland Policy Network were on 8 Sep. and 20 Oct. 2017 on electricity reform.
- Science education
- Public infrastructure
- Preventative health – A dialogue was held on 26 March 2018 on the preconditions of obesity and another, on 9 August 2018, on youth disadvantage.
- Mine rehabilitation
- Innovation – its value, its preconditions
- Stewardship incentives for pastoral lands.
Any person who would like to be placed on the mailing list for future events is invited to join the Society. All members receive advice of all public seminars.
The online newsletter The Mandarin is widely read by the national policy community.
Queensland’s home-grown think tank the T J Ryan Foundation has an extensive repository of policy-relevant materials, with a special focus on political and labour issues.
A work program for improving coordination of public policy in Queensland
A separate page on this subject is under construction.