Australia Will Have Minister for Sport, But No Minister for Science

Dennis Jensen MP, Liberal from Western Australia, in an interview with Latika Bourke explains some of what’s wrong with the new Abbott Cabinet and also highlights problems with some of the more absurd of the proposed Abbott-government policies including ‘Direct Action’ on climate change.Dennis Jensen

You should be able to listen here:

Dr Jensen suggests that instead of investing in what is not economical and therefore not sustainable, that the new Australian government would be better off investing in clean energy research. Dr Jensen refers to this as the “cheap end of the innovation pipeline”.

Dr Jensen also makes the point during the interview that Australia is about to have a Minister for Sport, but no Minister for Science.


Dr Dennis Jensen was elected to the House of Representatives at the 2004 Federal Election for the Division of Tangney, Western Australia. Dr Jensen graduated from Monash University with a PhD in Materials Science and Physics. Before entering Parliament, Dr Jensen enjoyed a long and varied career in science and research industries. He worked at the CSIRO and pursued his dual passions of science and defence as a research scientist and analyst at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. Dr Jensen currently has the highest scientific qualifications of all MPs and Senators.

17 Responses to Australia Will Have Minister for Sport, But No Minister for Science

  1. Otter September 17, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    Outside of what you wrote here, what is your assessment of Dr. Jensen? Which side of the climate debate does he fall into?

  2. Robert September 17, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    We need abundant energy, water and nukes, modernised, whether innovatory on not. When he talks of “clean energy research” as a priority, Jensen does not come across as a maverick, but as a timid cultivator of ABC luvvies. If he wants to be a real bucking bronco, let him stop trying to keep his political balance by catering to green fetishism altogether.

    I don’t care who does research. They can be Finns, Chinese or Australians. So long as it gets done. Australia needs production, as much as possible and as mixed as possible. Constantly modernised coal power generation at the heart of a productive and wealthy Australia can never be “dirty”. (Real conservation, unlike a Bob Carr National Park or a brochure giving electricity saving tips, involves enormous ongoing effort, more than we can presently afford.) And whatever replaces coal will be pretty bloody good, because it will be replacing something good. Coal sets a high bar. Imagine trying to fund an urban middle class orgy like Earth Hour with the wind turbines and solar panels promoted by Earth Hour.

    Iago was right. Put money in thy purse.

  3. jennifer September 17, 2013 at 8:57 pm #


    Dennis is a genuine sceptic who doubts that emissions from industry are causing catastrophic global warming. He said as much in his maiden speech in November 2004…


    I’m all for some investment in R&D, and if many in this democracy are concerned about our dependance on coal, gas etcetera, then it makes sense for government to support R&D in renewables. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our energy requirements could be meet from nuclear fusion… essentially using a component of seawater as the fuel for a process analogous to the way the sun generates energy. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on this ideal by governments worldwide over the past 50 or so years, but with no practical result… I don’t suggest we give on nuclear fusion or other alternatives… but just on wind turbines…

  4. Robert September 17, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    Jen, I hope I’m reading Jensen wrong, but he’s coming across a bit ABCish to me.

    Australians did not invent the telephone or the computer or the internal combustion machine. Yet we reap the benefits of the technology. If you’re rich enough, you can implement anything that’s available. Rich countries have power and communication grids not because they invented them but because they can afford them. The other things that rich countries do – and should feel obliged to do – is constantly modernise so that innovators have a market. If we installed new nukes and new coal power – just as we modernise our cars and our software within the space of a few years – we’d have local talent working on local industries that actually pay their way and where we have the supply advantage.

    This is not an argument against punting and risking through innovation. Elizabeth Macarthur started with one innovation, a breed of sheep, and started a million pound industry in impossible circumstances in a ridiculously short space of time. Other risks and innovations did not take off, but you only need a couple of good ones. I’m arguing against running down the things that actually work just great for reasons I can only describe as theological. If, thanks to coal wealth, we are rich enough to punt on fusion or thorium and it all goes to waste…well, it was our money and worth the try. Even wind and solar have uses and potential, though wind really does suck on so many levels it was hard for me to say that.

    A wheelchair athlete once told me something I’ll never forget. He said his chair was not the product of a benevolent society employing testers and scientists. He said it depended on motor car racing passing technology on to motor bike racing passing to bicycle racing passing to wheelchairs. Everything got tested to the max in the real world by the hunger of competition and the need to win. Even the most common wheelchair or pram gets the benefit.

    Maybe somebody overseas who is sick of paying Australia for metallurgical coal and uranium will eventually come up with something even better than coal and nukes. France became the world’s biggest nett exporter of electricity because it was destitute of all energy sources by the 1960s. (And government, contrary to what market purists might think, actually had the bigger role in that turn around. They couldn’t wait for the Invisible Hand to meet a national emergency.) On the other hand, someone in Oz may find ways to make fossil fuels far, far more efficient. Why close any doors? Alternatives only suck when you pretend they are mainstream.

    Never mind me. I just go off when somebody implies that my beloved coal is “dirty”. How I miss the glorious tarry aroma of the Wollstonecraft coal loader!

  5. sp September 17, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

    Robert – you dirty old coal sniffer.

    I agree with you – burn the stuff

  6. Dennis Webb September 18, 2013 at 9:30 am #


    After parading his daughters around during the election campaign my wife thought Mr Abbott would appoint a few women to his cabinet.

    Appointments clearly were not on merit, or balance and to the exclusion of women.

    Shame he promoted the wet-behind-the-ears SA lads (Birmingham and Briggs – waste of space the both of them) to positions of responsibility.

    Not as though there were no women to choose from:

  7. toby September 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    It would have been nice to see more women in important roles. But thankgoodness there is no Emily’s list leading to incompetent females being put into positions of power. What we need is steady professional and competent government. The amateur hour that has been going on for 6 years now is because of incompetent people in positions of importance.

    when we look at the quality of people labor promoted, they have surely set back equality for decades?

    where as Julie bishop is clearly there on merit and lets just hope that others rise to the top as well.

    But most important of all is good government, something we have forgotten about.

    Everything should be done on merit! Dennis, those women do sound competent but I do not know enough detail.

  8. toby September 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    Given how much harm has been done to science by the climate change brigade, maybe it is time for it to take a back seat on the political stage?!!! ( that does not mean do not fund good research and RnD)
    what abbott has done has removed long winded bullshit titles.

    lets see what happens in 1-2 years time when they have a chance to show what they can do.

    the liberals have been refreshingly quiet since winning and what a breath of fresh air that is.

    at last it feels like we have professionals back in charge…I just hope we feel that way in a few years time

  9. Luke September 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    ” There are far more reliable ways to measure global temperatures, such as through the use of Aerosonde balloons and satellites, which are unaffected by urban heat islands. Unfortunately for the global warmers, the data from these sources do not show the warming trend, so, disingenuously, only the ground based readings are used.”

    WRONG !

    ” All models for global warming have the maximum increase in temperature occurring at the poles, for good reason: the absorption of heat by greenhouse gases occurs predominantly at temperatures that are common at the polar regions”

    WRONG and nonsensical

    Antarctica not warming – well researched and due to ozone depletion and circumpolar winds.

    So much for our highly educated would-be Ministerial aspirant !

    How can you guys admire someone who speaks drivel?!

  10. Robert September 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    “…living and breathing the St George/Illawarra NRL team…”

    Marisa Payne is a victim of Abbott’s peninsularism. Get that chick into a cabinet portfolio NOW.

  11. Neville September 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Luke’s old mate Bob Tisdale has another top post on some of the SST models compared to the real observations.

    Needless to say they are an epic failure once again.

  12. Beth Cooper September 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    The Libs’ women politicians seem like good women all, even if some have
    strange sporting enthuisiasms, and we, well I, look forward to seeing them
    perform in our new guvuhmint 🙂 and hopefully, in due course, join JB in the
    high ranks and not, like a certain female Labor leader, be brought down by
    her ahem … loyal team.


  13. Neville September 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    Another good post by Ross McKitrick.

    It seems the IPCC just can’t lie straight in bed. Models are hopeless but they still keep the faith.
    A day of reckoning is fast approaching when all the groupthinkers and warmist fanatics will have to face a more sceptical MSM.

  14. cohenite September 18, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    luke, I wish you wouldn’t link to tammy; the manchild is a joke. What next, boybands as climate gurus?

  15. Luke September 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    WRONG is wrong – graph yourself

    So looks like the inmates don’t have a problem with their wannabe science Minister-in-waiting sprouting arrant nonsense?

  16. spangled drongo September 19, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    Robert, are you saying if Dennis cross-gendered s/he would be a shoe-in?

  17. Koala Bear September 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    Australia is lucky not to have separate ministers for rugby, horse racing and cricket.

    The state of both science and science funding in Australia is truly dismal.

    One good sign though was the abolishment today of the climate commission. What a total waste of time and taxpayers’ money. Now Tim Flannery can get back to his book reviews, and perhaps there will be some funds for some proper science.

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