QUEENSLAND POLICY NETWORK
This page is proposed to facilitate dialogue between all those actively involved in public policy-making in Queensland, comprising Queensland’s policy community:
- policy officers
- parliamentarians and their advisers
- scientists and other experts
- peak bodies and think tanks
- community groups like the member bodies of the Queensland Science Network
- long-form journalists and commentators; and
- thoughtful laypersons.
The focus here is on evidence-based policy, sensitive to what scholarly knowledge or practical experience shows to be effective. It seeks to counter ‘fake news’ and policy-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 most reliable method that humans have devised for building knowledge and making predictions about the world. Scientific method is a vital tool for problem-solving in all fields of policy: not just those fields associated with the natural sciences, such as environment, health, agriculture, technology, energy.
Scientists can contribute another unique perspective to public affairs. The laws of nature – thermodynamics, mathematics, chemistry and other disciplines – are beyond amendment by human agency. Scientific research is confined to discovering 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 Queensland Policy Network (QPN) is a loose association of those not bound by the dictates of orthodox economics and keen to apply independent, lateral thought in their policy activities.
The QPN is at an early stage of its existence and this page is under construction. Material posted here does not necessarily reflect the views of The Royal Society of Queensland.
(More to come).
Gravestones: David Marlow’s tabulation of the destruction of scientific bodies that were effective sources of non-partisan expert knowledge.
Ask a policy expert
(Online question-and-answer portal to come).
Any person who would like to be advised of future policy-orientated events is invited to join the Society. All members receive advice of public events and a monthly Newsletter.
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.