The Minister for Science and Industry, Ian Macfarlane, yesterday announced two appointments to the CSIRO Board.

Labor congratulates Mr Brian Watson on his appointment as a new member of the CSIRO Board and wishes him all the best as he joins an organisation that is critical to building Australia’s future jobs.

We also congratulate Ms Shirley In’t Veld on her reappointment in the face of Tony Abbott’s childish edict against retaining experienced Board members who were appointed under the previous Labor Government.

In typical Abbott Government style, however, Mr Macfarlane’s announcement only provides a 40 per cent solution to the five vacancies that had to be filled.


Indeed, this announcement doesn’t even get the CSIRO Board back to the number of members it had a week ago.


Last week it had two vacancies and three positions set to expire. Now it has three vacancies, including the Chair.


We urge Mr Macfarlane to fill the remaining vacancies as a matter of urgency, and to give the organisation some certainty by announcing a new Chair as soon as possible.


After stripping $115 million from the CSIRO and generating the largest loss of jobs in the organisation’s history, the least the Minister could do is manage its Board appointments efficiently.


Labor takes this opportunity to thank outgoing CSIRO Chair, Simon McKeon, and fellow Board member Professor Tom Spurling AM, for the enormous contributions they have made to the CSIRO Board since 2010 and 2012 respectively.


Mr McKeon has led CSIRO’s governing body through a difficult period of transition and has always been a resolute and articulate advocate for a research organisation that is both world class and much-loved by the Australian people.

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