House debates

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Questions without Notice


3:09 pm

Photo of Nicolle FlintNicolle Flint (Boothby, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. Will the minister update the House on how the government is promoting the participation of women in science, technology, engineering and maths? What are the risks and what is at stake from alternative approaches?

3:10 pm

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for her question and I note the great work that Flinders University is doing through their program Women Branching Out in her electorate of Boothby. This program supports women studying science, technology, engineering and maths subjects by providing role model workshops, leadership skills, to help women in their careers.

As a mechanical engineer who graduated quite a number of years ago through the Queensland University of Technology, I was one of two women in that class. As it turned out, I and the other female there were the first two women ever to graduate from the Queensland University of Technology. Some years later, the figures haven't changed dramatically. What we need to be conscious of is the fact that if we don't encourage more women to study science, technology, engineering and maths—

Mr Hill interjecting

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Bruce is warned.

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

we are limiting their opportunities, the opportunities of women, to take their rightful place in the workforce, because we know that 75 per cent of the jobs of the future will require skills in science, technology, engineering and maths. At this point in time, we don't have that skill set here, and we must develop it. The coalition is absolutely committed to making sure that we support women entering science, technology, engineering and maths subjects at school. Part of that announcement that I made on the weekend was to ensure that we gave every opportunity to young people, young women, to be inspired to do these subjects by appointing Australia's first ever Women in STEM Ambassador.

We have appointed Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith. Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith is an outstanding advocate for women in the STEM fields. She is an award-winning astrophysicist holding a PhD in radioastronomy, from Jodrell Bank Observatory at the University of Manchester, and a masters degree in physics with honours in astronomy and astrophysics, from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. She is a public advocate for science and has presented on numerous radio and television broadcasts, including ABC Television's Stargazing Live. She won the 2016 Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research.

Those opposite have shown their true form, because they—

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.