Hidden gem of Australia’s Public Service lights up Parliament House

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, last night introduced some of Australia’s finest government scientists to parliamentarians at a Parliamentary Friends of Science showcase hosted by Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Richard Marles MP and the Hon Karen Andrews MP.


Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, addresses those attending the Government Scientists Group showcase hosted by the Parliamentary Friends of Science

The Government Scientists Group was established by Dr Foley in 2021 bringing together the chief scientists or their equivalents from Australian Government departments, agencies and regulators with a science capability.

Members of the Government Scientists Group represent 24 organisations, employing more than 20,000 people. Their scientists, researchers and regulators undertake and use highly impactful, world-class research.

Ngunnawal Elder Uncle Wally Bell performed a Welcome to Country ceremony before three members of the Government Scientists Group spoke about the respective scientific capabilities of their agencies. These included Dr Kylie Jones, Principal Forensic Scientist, Australian Federal Police; Mr Shaun Jenkinson, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation; and Dr Cheryl McRae, Assistant Secretary, Department of Health and Aged Care representing the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Dr Foley said the staff of organisations represented on the Government Scientists Group work to support government to protect Australians.

“Members of Government Scientists Group have been responsible for many things that impact on our everyday, from the black-box recorders in all aircraft, to Wi-Fi, and nuclear medicine that every Australian will experience in their lifetime”.

“Collectively, the Government Scientists Group helps Australia prepare for the unexpected – it is a jewel in our crown and something as a nation we should be proud of”, said Dr Foley.

Parliamentarians then seized the opportunity to engage members of the Government Scientists Group in conversation and view a variety of scientific displays, including:

  • Replica samples of a tiny piece of radioactive equipment that ANSTO was able to locate using vehicle-mounted radiation equipment 2 metres from Western Australia’s Great Northern Highway near the town of Newman in February 2023.
  • A 360-degree virtual reality experience of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • One of the Bureau of Meteorology’s mini-weather stations together with a collection of digitally printed 3D scale models of large hailstones from major hailstorms that hit Victoria and Queensland.
  • An Australian Space Agency showcase of a ground-breaking nanosatellite developed by an Australian consortium.
  • A Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry demonstration of a robotic biosecurity dog called Spot.
  • Copies of a new Australian Government publication Government Scientists Group: Connecting government science and research capability were distributed to those parliamentarians who attended the showcase.


Government Scientists Group booklet cover image

Read Dr Foley's speech.

Download the Government Scientists Group booklet.

Learn more about the Government Scientists Group.