Queensland Policy Network

QUEENSLAND POLICY NETWORK

This page is reserved for dialogue between all those actively interested in public policy-making in Queensland: policy officers, parliamentary advisers, scientists and other experts, peak body advocates and laypersons. Its focus 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.

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 only way that humans have devised to construct testable explanations for making predictions about the world and for acquiring and building knowledge. 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.

Topics

During the past couple of years, the Royal Society has taken initiatives in the following subject fields:

Electricity regime
Science education
Public infrastructure
Community preventative health
Mine rehabilitation
Innovation – its value, its preconditions

Carbon stocks and flows
Climate policy.

Pages have been set out for materials on each of these subjects. The Society would welcome contributions from participants in the Queensland Policy Network towards developing these themes further.

Events

The first event held under the badge of the Queensland Policy Network was a lunchtime forum on 8 September 2017 on electricity reform, featuring interstate technology expert Alan Pears AM. The second was on 20 October featuring Dr Matthew Stocks and Prof Simon Bartlett on pumped hydro storage.

Our emerging intention is to organise an event early in 2018 focused on the preconditions of obesity and the economic consequences of not tackling chronic ill-health at its source.

Any person who would like to be placed on the mailing list for future events is invited to let the Society know by email to courses@royalsocietyqld.org.au .

Sponsorship

The Society is very pleased to announce that PricewaterhouseCoopers  has agreed to sponsor three events in 2018.