This one will be short, mainly because honestly, not much has changed since 2016. Same government, same opposition, same issues; all just turned up to 11.
We argued over metadata retention then, now it’s full-on mandated vulnerabilities. We ignored urgent advice about climate change then, now we ignore extinction-level desperation. It was dog-whistling then, now it’s pretty explicit white supremacy. I didn’t realise I would ever characterise the issues of 2016 as “subtle”, but here we are.
Let me remind you where this tradition of mine started: I had recently joined the Democrats. I had joined them in despair at the lack of a political home for the science-minded and actual scientists. In my narcissism I saw a moribund party as both a blank slate and a vehicle for science policy, and to some extent I made some progress. Not much, obviously.
I admit that a large part of that idealism is what I would now pejoratively call technocracy in anyone else. I did not specifically want an elite cabal of scientists to rule Australia, but I did definitely think that if we only had (many) more of them in politics, this country would just become better. I now see the foolishness of this. Voting ourselves more scientific works about as well as a Silicon Valley startup engineering themselves more ethical.
I do still believe that there is a place for science in Australian politics, both (a) in and of itself, as a powerful aspect of our humanity and (b) as something better than the current crop of coal carrying dipshits with Derek Zoolander levels of IT knowledge. But my question, the question you should be asking yourself is this:
What do you see in science, that makes you want to factor it into your vote?
Why are you a science fan?