Tuesday, 3 June 2014
Questions without Notice
Budget: Medical Research Future Fund
My question is to the Prime Minister. Senior officials from the Health Department yesterday revealed that they first heard about the Prime Minister's Medical Research Future Fund only days and weeks before the budget. Last night Australia's Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, confirmed that he was not consulted at all. He said he is disappointed at the Prime Minister's cuts to science and research. Why is the Prime Minister not listening to experts, rushing his policy and making cuts to Australia's future by cutting science and research?
Is it 'days' or is it 'weeks'? There is a difference. This is a government which has brought down a budget which is not only about living within our means; it is also about playing to our strengths. And one of Australia's great strengths is medical research.
Some eight Nobel Prize winners from this country were medical researchers, including Howard Florey, the inventor of penicillin. Over the last decade we have had some four Australians of the year who are medical researchers, including Fiona Wood, the inventor of plastic skin; and Ian Frazer, the inventor of the cervical cancer vaccine. We are very, very good at medical research. We are outstanding at medical research. We are one per cent of the world's population and we produce some five per cent of the world's refereed medical research.
This is a budget not just for saving but a budget for building. That is why I am so proud of the Medical Research Future Fund. It will help this country and help the world in the years and decades ahead.