Message from the Chief Executive—February 2018

February 15, 2018

Happy 64th birthday to the Australian Academy of Science!

On 16 February 1954 the ten members of the provisional Council of the Academy went to Government House, where they were ushered into a small room and welcomed by the Governor-General. They had to wait for some time as Prince Philip, whom the Queen wanted with her, returned late from opening University House, at the Australian National University. Then the Royal couple arrived with Sir William Slim, through a curtain without fanfare. The Petitioners were introduced and, with a few appropriate words, the Queen handed Oliphant, as President, the Charter of the Academy. Thus was the Australian Academy of Science founded.

Excerpt from ‘The First Fifty Years’. Edited by Frank Fenner.

Sixty-four years on there is much to celebrate and our mission to advance science in Australia is as important today as it was then.

What a terrific start to 2018 with Professor Michelle Simmons FAA being awarded Australian of the Year and Professor Graham Farquhar AO FAA Senior Australian of the Year.  A further 10 Fellows of the Academy received Australia Day Honours and we were delighted that a teacher of mathematics—Eddie Woo—was recognised as Australia’s Local Hero.

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash (second from left) with the Academy’s President Professor Andrew Holmes, Chief Executive Anna-Maria Arabia, and Director Science Policy and Projects Dr Chris Hatherly. 

Ministerial engagement

The Ministerial reshuffle in December 2017 has resulted in a change in responsibilities for the science portfolio. Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash is Minister for Jobs and Innovation and Senator Zed Seselja is Assistant Minister for Science Jobs and Innovation. The Academy’s President Professor Andrew Holmes; Dr Chris Hatherly, Director of Policy; and I were able to meet with Minister Cash to discuss priorities for the science sector and to share with her the activities of the Academy.

I hope you enjoy the February newsletter.

Anna-Maria

© 2019 Australian Academy of Science

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