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Nice try, Barnaby

August 28 2013: The Coalition has today promised $100 million in funding for the 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations specifically targeted at increasing the profitability of Australian agriculture.

To date, it has failed to actually deliver one additional cent of new money for R&D projects. The hastily contrived $20 billion slush fund for pharmaceutical companies is dependent on the GP co-payment and is a long way from providing any significant money to R&D should it ever come to fruition which is doubtful.

On Thursday, Barnaby Joyce’s announcement that the Queensland grains industry will receive $14.3 million over five years is another sign of desperation by the Abbott Government to shore up votes in Queensland.

The reality is that the Abbott Government has slashed funding

  • $80 million from Cooperative Research Centres
  • $115 million from the CSIRO – the biggest job losses to the organisation in history
  • $11 million from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
  • $7 million of R&D Commonwealth matching dollars cut from Rural Research and Development Corporations announced in the May Budget.

Under Labor’s analysis, there is a total of $836.2 million in direct cuts to research, led by cuts to the CSIRO and the Research Training Scheme, and the abolition of Commercialisation Australia.

It says other savings will also hit research, including the 20 per cent cut to undergraduate places in universities and a more than half-billion-dollar cut to the student start-up loan scholarships scheme.

Add to that $6 billion in combined cuts to higher education and preventative health programs.

The impact of lower funding is likely to slow or stop vital research on infectious diseases such as the deadly Ebola virus. Other efforts that will be affected are the fights against bowel or colorectal cancer, which could stop completely. These had been under way at the CSIRO.

The CSIRO generated $37.5 million in licence fees and royalties last financial year and $278.5 million in 2011-12, when royalties from a wireless technology were significantly higher.

Inventions developed at CSIRO range from cotton seeds to contact lenses, with much of the income returned to the organisation’s research budget.

Much of the royalties flowing in stem from research projects that began decades ago. Among them is wireless technology, which has produced $420 million in the past five years, and pest-resistant cotton seed varieties used in 95 per cent of Australia’s cotton crops. Multinational partners include Bayer and Monsanto as well as local partner Cotton Seed Distributors. Royalties from the cotton seed varieties, developed to be disease and pest-resistant, range between $10 million and $20 million a year.

”A lot of the commercial outcomes we are getting now are based on investment we were able to make in the science using federal government taxpayer money in the past,” Ms Bingley said. ”If we don’t have access to that, then it makes it that much harder to innovate because it’s difficult to get industry to pay for things so early on in development.”

She pointed to start-up companies that have emerged as a result of CSIRO inventions, including GeoSLAM, a company commercialising an advanced 3D laser-scanning device called Zebedee.

Chief executive of BioMelbourne Network, a Victorian industry association for the biotech sector, Michelle Gallaher said much of Australia’s success in the field was founded on CSIRO research. She said the organisation grew not only technology but also talent.

It was also helping at least 50 Australian biotech companies to develop and commercialise their research. ”Any kind of cuts to CSIRO will translate to a lack of opportunity down the track,” she said.

Last August, Education Minister Christopher Pyne said university research cuts could not be ruled out if Parliament continued to block budget measures.

When having his photo taken at a cancer research facility so he could claim his $560 allowance after attending a private function the previous evening, Tony Abbott said:

“We want to get our higher education changes through because they will be good for universities, they will be good for research, they will be good for Australia, but what we are doing is we are modestly reducing government funding but at the same time we are liberating – we are liberating – our universities to achieve what they can because if there is one institution that ought to be capable of looking after its own affairs it is a university, which is, by definition, a bastion of our best and brightest.

But I want to stress here at the Peter Mac – this is a government which is dedicated to science, which is devoted to research, and wants to massively increase Australia’s research effort.”

It seems a convenient devotion to only be discussed during campaigns and ignored during budgets, unless the sick, the unemployed, and our kids are willing to fund it of course.

In Abu Dhabi, at a series of sessions at the World Future Energy Conference on the future of global renewable energy investment and clean energy markets, there was a lot of debate among some of the world’s leading bankers and clean energy developers about which countries offered the best opportunities.

“Australia is dead,” said Edgare Kerkwijk, the head of Singapore-based Asia Green Capital, to the general agreement of all.

Just how dead the market is has been highlighted by the fact that no new projects have gotten financial commitment since the election of the Abbott government in late 2013. In 2014, investment in large scale renewables plunged 88 per cent, taking Australia from 11th ranking to 39th.

A new report from Green Energy Markets, looking at the last quarter of 2014, notes that only one large scale project got new finance approval in 2014 – the 70MW Moree solar farm, and that was mostly due to the financing awarded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

We were asked to judge the Coalition by their actions rather than their words.

Nice try, Barnaby, but your election sweetener to the grains industry pales into insignificance in light of your short-sighted approach to research, development, innovation and investment.

You want a country that has no debt…and no future.


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  1. flohri1754

    A “country with no debt and no future” …… aptly put. This government has to be one with the least vision and the least empathy of any I can recall in my lifetime …..

  2. stephentardrew

    Good lord it will take a miracle for National Party members to wake up to the fact that the Liberals are their worst enemies. The likes of Barnaby and that idiot Abets opt for power and personal interest while the rural sector suffers. This right wing crap is so deeply instilled in the rural sector they literally cannot see the wood for the trees.

    The corporations are taking them down with the complicity of the Liberals.

    How do you bring flexibility to these living fossils?

  3. Truth Seeker

    Thanks Kaye, for another fine piece 🙂

    It’s really no wonder that this mendacious mob of miscreants, AKA the LNP, have no decent policies, as they are spinning that much that they must be in a continual state of terminal dizziness 😯

    And Bananby is definitely a special king of stupid 😯

    And on a not unrelated issue, here’s my contribution to the QLD election;

    “Oh the Newman-ity”
    Oh… the Newman-ity

    Of self absorbed inanity

    That’s enshrined in Newman’s vanity

    And proves the mans insanity

    He’s just a raving knob

    The rest can be read here;

    Oh the Newman-ity!

    Cheers 🙂

  4. Kaye Lee

    The CSG industry are helping wake the farmers up Stephen.

    I read the article. Being a maths girl, it’s a tad too esoteric for me but interesting nevertheless. I studied astronomy briefly at uni and my lecturer was a creationist. That still does my head in.

  5. Rossleigh

    As I’ve always said, there are plenty of people with no debt.
    They often have no house to live in, nor any job, as well.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Yes rossleigh,

    One wonders why Gina Rinehart recently organised a $7.5 billion loan for her Roy Hill mine.

  7. diannaart

    You want a country that has no debt….and no future.

    Well said Kaye Lee.

    Good lord it will take a miracle for National Party members to wake up to the fact that the Liberals are their worst enemies.


    I know, more of this ‘voting against best interests syndrome’ that afflicts too many Australians, but you’d think that the Nats would’ve figured it out by now.

  8. stephentardrew

    Yes Mobius:

    I saw McKeon interviewed on a program concerning philanthropy and he was scathing about his fellow corporate luminaries and their lack of involvement in NGO’s and social justice. Australian corporate elites have a poor record for philanthropy.

  9. Anomander

    Feck I hate Bananababy. Hell, I hate the entire Lib front bench, but Bananababy is simply a cretin.

    I still cannot fathom how the New England electorate could jump so radically from Tony Windsor to Bananababy at the last election. WTF!?!

    And speaking of Tony Windsor –

    Another good story on jobs –

    Not much point being debt free if you have no jobs, no future and no hope. There are days I want to just sit down and cry for my country is becoming.

  10. townsvilleblog

    The LNP are full of snakeoil salesmen who couldn’t lie straight in bed, it will be a long time before we again trust these rabid right wingers to government again, Newman is gone next weekend, followed by his fellow believer in ultra right wing politics Abbott.

  11. stephentardrew

    Anomander: I can only agree and sympathise.

  12. Matters Not

    In Germany however, there are no tuition fees charged for undergraduate students in all the public universities within the country as of October 2014 …

    From October and on, every federation is required to abolish tuition fees and offer free higher education to native and international students alike

    In Australia, Pyne wants us to be internationally competitive by increasing tuition fees. Talk about being behind the times.

  13. FreeThinker

    A summing up Kaye that resonates.

    The ALP should take note.

    Let me add to it.

    No debt, no vision, no infrastructural or green energy investment, no scientific research, no jobs, no future

  14. Matters Not

    Here’s a piece of CSIRO research that’s flown somewhat below the radar.

    After 10 years of research, CSIRO scientists have perfected the Novacq™ prawn feed additive. Farmed prawns fed with Novacq grow on average 30 per cent faster, are healthier and can be produced with no fish products in their diet, a world-first achievement in sustainability.

    Farmed prawns fed with Novacq grow on average 30 per cent faster, are healthier and can be produced with no fish products in their diet, a world-first achievement in sustainability.

    CSIRO’s Dr Nigel Preston has been working with the A$75 million Australian prawn farming industry for over 25 years, and says this is a game changer for the industry.

    “We fed Novacq to black tiger prawns, and it made them even better for consumers, the environment and prawn farmers,” Dr Preston said.

    “This is a major achievement for the sustainability of Australia’s aquaculture industry as prawns fed this diet are not only a top quality product and reach market size faster, they also no longer need to be fed with any products from wild fishery resources

    Worth millions. Protects fish stocks. Very ‘scientific’.

    Next will be a feed for farmed fish.

    But we really need to cut monies from the CSIRO!

    Private sector = Good. Public sector = Bad.


  15. gangey1959

    No debt and No Future ?
    Surely they jest.
    We won’t have any debt, because the country will soon be totally foreign owned. All we are waiting on is the final FTA with India.
    And we must by definition have a future. It will just be a re-definition of “bleak”

  16. roaminruin

    Barnaby? I’d forgotten Barnaby – too many other clowns taking up media space.
    The last pic I saw of Barnaby he was slipping some tongue to a miners-hatted version of Jabba The Hutt. His running orders would’ve been post-coital i guess.

    How could the red-necked constituents prefer this tosser to Tony Windsor – a rare, capable, ethical politician. For this tool? I wonder how many of them are now pondering that the earth aint flat, it is getting hotter and they cant keep those CSG miners off their properties.

  17. Andre Poublon

    We ask that companies and government institutions employ the most experienced and qualified. The best. Yet in politics, we are run by apparatchiks not experts. It’s about time we stopped voting for people who’s only qualifications are being lickspittles to their masters.

  18. Kaye Lee

    Campbell Newman is trying to run on his economic performance. Well let’s have a look at that shall we…..

    Data on Gross Domestic Income (GDI) show that Queensland is well below the Australian average. In particular, GDI per-capita in Queensland has decreased by 1% between June 2013 and June 2014.

    Queensland currently has the equal highest unemployment rate in the country (6.9%). In Cairns, youth unemployment is above 21%, one of the highest rates observed in Australia.

    Under the LNP government there has been a net 2% decline in income per-capita, full-time employment decreased from 1.634 million to 1.626 million and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 5.5% in March 2012 to 6.9% in November 2014.

    During Bligh’s time in power, from September 2007 to March 2012, the Queensland economy experienced higher GDI growth, faster employment growth, and a smaller increase in the rate of unemployment.

    Nice try Campbell

  19. halsaul

    Put simply, no country can prosper when science & research are starved for funding. The best minds go elsewhere. This is the most ignorant group of politicians ever to attain Government in Australia. We will all pay dearly for the destruction of foundation stones of a decent society by Abbott. Health Care, clean water, air and the environment protected. Housing and a living wage for all. Australia can achieve all of these things if it strives to and even the wealthy will benefit.

  20. Hyper Bollocks

    Kaye Lee,

    Who could doubt the work of a man with a name as cool as “Fabrizio Carmignani”. Awesome. I guess it helps he’s an economics professor, but hey …

  21. Kaye Lee

    Interesting comment hyper bollocks, Are you suggesting that his qualifications be discounted because he has a funny name? The figures come from the ABS who undoubtedly employ someone called Bruce if that makes you more comfortable.

  22. Michael Taylor

    Kaye Lee, thanks for making me spray my coffee over my iPad.

  23. Carol Taylor

    Kaye Lee, it is indeed interesting that someone with a name such as Hyper Bollocks should be worried about someone else’s name 😯

  24. Michael Taylor

    Damn, I have to clean my iPad again. 🙁

  25. Hyper Bollocks


    God you people are sensitive. I was suggesting no more than the bloke has an awesome freakin’ name. I was also taking the moment to give the bloke some cred for the information. That ok?

  26. Trevor

    Barnaby, LNP’s special IDIOT from the Agrarian Socialists of yesteryear, spouts Qland dribble as political policy and shows that the intellectually challenged can have a political career if they kiss the right arse.

    Kaye Lee you amaze as you bring fact on fact to the table to dissemble the most vapid LNP trolls and thier arguments. Thank you for the continual effort.

  27. John Fraser


    No, no .. "Hyper Bollocks" is absolutely right.

    Here's the evidence :

    "One member, Vasan Srinivasan, a property consultant, is the founder and chairman of the Victorian Multicultural Liberal Business Club, which has hosted at least one gala dinner for federal and Victorian Liberal politicians.

    Another member, Charlotte Vidor, is a multimillionaire from the hospitality and property development industries, whose family donated $25,000 to the Liberal Party in 2010-11."

    Vasan Srinivasan and Vidor ……… Liberal party hacks getting in for their cut from Abbott.

    I fully expect someone with such an outstanding British name like "Hyper Bollocks" to receive his just desserts from Abbott.

    Arise Dame “Hyper Bollocks” ….. go and stand over there beside Sir Maurice Newman.

  28. Zolf

    I think the science community, especially the CSIRO are not very good at dealing with this pack of imbeciles. What they should all do is promise to invent CLEAN COAL, COAL stock feed, COAL powered trucks, roads made of CSG, etc. Then when they spend the grants on actual science, they could call it a NON COAL promise.

  29. Harquebus

    Maths girl eh? Hmmm, interesting.

  30. John Fraser


    Dame Hyper Bollocks …… mmmmm interesting.

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