The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia on April 20, 1979 · Page 12
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The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia · Page 12

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Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date:
Friday, April 20, 1979
Page:
Page 12
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!2- THE AGE, Friday, April 20, 1979 Report: DAVID BROADBENT The peaceful days when Australian scientists could operate almost entirely free of political and public scrutiny are coming to an end, a Melbourne University political scientist, Mr. Leon Peres, told the UN Conference on Science and Technology in Canberra yesterday. Whether scientists liked it or not they were being dragged into politics as their objectives became more controversial and of greater interest to governments, Mr. Peres said. He said the great paradox of Australian science was that, until recently, there had been no great political interest in science although most of its financial support came from governments. Historically Australia's response to the research revolution of the early 20th century was to incorporate science into government bureaucracy dependent on government support. "Many of our major technological efforts have been long blessed with the peace of corporate autonomy energy supply agencies and specific resource conservation bodies are examples," Mr. Peres said. "The status of the corporation was originally a way of isolating these activities from the world of politics. "That is no longer possible and such bodies, themselves, are seeking the protection of the political system as their objectives are being subjected to scrutiny, criticism, and protest by a range of community groups whose interests diverge considerably." Mr. Peres said energy research was a good example of the changing attitudes. "The push towards politics comes not only from protest groups and critics who may be concerned either with greater efficiency or different lifestyles but also from governments concerned about future costs and scarcities. "It is certain that the energy part of the science and technology establishment will be much more intimately involved with politics. "It will face closer scrutiny and the harder choices will be based on more coherently defined criteria drawn from the political and administrative systems, now much more interested in science and technology," he said. In the past, Mr. Peres said, Australian science had no instrumental role in tackling the range of national problems that elsewhere had justified investment in science and technology. Instead of turning to science to relieve our national anxieties it had been the Australian habit to seek economic, political, and diplomatic bargains to gain access to the science and technology we needed. Nor was research at government laboratories directed to the satisfaction of the private sector's needs. "The vociferous complaints of the secondary industry sector were that neither of the big spenders of the government's science dollar CSIRO and the Defence, Science and Technology Organisation contributed much at all to industry," he said. Except for defence science, govern ments have not been interested in the scientific activities they have so abundantly supported. 1 At the same time there have been few connections between non-defence science and governments. "In sum, there has been no great demand for the products that our science and technology establishment might produce," Mr. Peres said. "Those with the responsibility for formulating and implementing national goals have been largely uninformed and unconcerned about the potential of science and technology for those goals." But even though Australian science had grown without pressing social demands being placed on it, the situation was changing rapidly and science would soon be in politics. ; "The political and administrative systems need to develop more sophisticated capacities to handle science and technology affairs and to clarify social demands in terms meaningful to the scientific community. i : "The process is beginning," Mr. Peres warned. RESEARCH WORK UNHEEDED Poor communication between scientists and industry meant a disturbing number of research findings were never exploited, the CSIRO's textile industry chief, Dr. Don Taylor, told the conference. , "In the past much worthwhile research has not been utilised because poor attention has been paid to the important development and proving stages in the transfer of an invention to the marketplace," Dr. Taylor said. A major reason was the poor status and high cost of development work compared with basic research work. "While the overall benefits have fully justified Australia's investment in CSIRO, the incidence of research results that are not used extensively or at all is disturbing," he said. "A scientist with a successful invention for the community is like a jockey riding a horse in the ; British Grand National only after he has been successfully through several obstacles does he attract crowd support." The problems of collaboration of government research with industry were inadequate definition of responsibilities, poor commitment and poor communications. "All involved in collaboration need to recognise the importance of fairly sharing kudos or financial rewards from a development," he said. Call for media to help explain science The mass media should help shape decisions on science and technology the vice-chancellor of Deakin University, Professor F. R. Jevons, said yesterday. ' Professor Jevons (pictured) said that although most decisions on science and technology would be made in bureaucratic structures and committees, they should be made against a background of wide public discussion. "That can only be achieved if there is ample exposure of the issues in the media, including the mass media, which to a large extent set the agenda for public debate," he said. Professor Jevons said the debate, as with other public policy decisions, would in practice be confined to a minority, but that minority should be a substantial one, going well beyond the community of professional scientists and technologists. "In part it will be institutionalised in agencies and committees, but in part it will also take place in public media such as newspapers," he said. "The better informed the contributors to the debate, the wiser the outcome is likely to be." CSIRO gives facts of life The life expectancy of Australians has not increased for almost 30 years despite improvements in health technology, the chief of the CSIRO's human nutrition division, Dr. Basil Hetzel, said yesterday. Dr. Hetzel told the conference that at the turn of the century men lived an average of 47 years and women an average of 50 years. By 1950 the average had increased to 68 years for men and 75 years for women, but there had been no improvement since then. Dr. Hetzel said it was time Australians realised they could increase their longevity without drugs and technology simply by taking better care of themselves. He said the three major causes of death were heart disease (36 per cent), cancer (18 per cent), and strokes (14 per cent). Accidents accounted for only 6 per cent of deaths. "While techniques to treat some types of cancer have improved, treatment for common alimentary cancers . has not significantly improved," he said. "The same is relevant to heart disease and strokes, although surgery can be performed in some heart cases." Dr. Hetzel said the Australian lifestyle high consumption of alcohol and tobacco, and a lack of exercise were the main cause of heart disease. However, stopping smoking can reduce the incidence of lung cancer and heart disease, while early preventive treatment for high blood pressure can reduce the number of strokes suffered by individuals in middle age," he said. "It is clear that although we are spending more money than ever before on health, we are not necessarily living longer in statistical terms than, for example, before penicillin was available in 1944." Dr. Hetzel said there should be more research into why Australians actually; consumed so much tobacco and alcohol, and more community education so people knew how to stay healthy. 1 i . i Dollars can't cheat nature A layman would call it burning the candle at both ends. To scientists it is over-taxing the resources of science and technology to maintain supplies of food and energy. Either way, the whole world is doing it with a vengeance. The world's population is rapidly outstripping the rate of food supply from natural sources and straining the planet's sup ply of low resources. grade energy At the same time the population growth has created huge urban sprawls which take up valuable agricultural land. According to the chief of the CSIRO's land use research division. Dr. Dick Millington, humans will soon be competing for survival, not only with each other, but also with flora and fauna. Dr. Millington said more than half the world's population would be living in cities of at least 100,000 people by the end of the century. In 1800, 25 per cent of the population of England and Wales were urban dwellers. Today the figure was 80 per cent. "We can therefore expect that in the future cities of more than one million inhabitants will be commonplace, creating massive problems in the disposal of sewage and garbage, as well as the requirements for food and energy," Dr. Millington said. "A little - considered result is the loss of productive land. "In Australia we face an expenditure of up to one billion dollars on soil restoration and conservation after less than 200 years of land use," he said. "There are limits to the rates at which resources can be made available to man and the rates at which he can dispose of, or re-cycle, his inevitable wastes. "Science and technology have oeen able to shift these limits with: each new demand arising from population growth. "But no supply of dollars can cheat the laws of physics and chemistry. Man can intervene but he cannot beat the laws of nature." "When productive systems engineered by man are no longer supported by him, nature takes over and in many cases and the ground reverts to carrying only the wild plants which were there in the first place." Dr. Millington said every new source from which man had increased his power on earth had been used to diminish the prospects of his successors. mis. all LAWFORflJE) Select Today and you SAVE 3 ways 1 . You Beat the Price Rise. 2. You're suite is Scotchguarded FREE 3. Arm covers are included FREE 16 Selected decorator fabrics We've combined this new release with a choice of 1 6 beautiful fabrics. Yes, you can select the pieces you want, in the fabric to complement your decor. Bring your room sizes, and select Mayfair new from 'Parker' Specially Priced for 10 days only 2 Seater Suite LAWFOKGl) FURNITURE SPRINGVALE (m 100 toons Displayed) ' 2215 Princes Highway 546 8111 Corner of Kalimna Avenue - North Side Between Btackbum & Springy ato Roads 979:r1195 GARDINER 266 Burks Road 25 4507 FOOTSCRAY 180 Barkly Street.... 689 2199 FRANKSTON 76 Welts Street. ...... 781 2022 BOX HIU. Cor Statioa & Maei Sts 89 2988 M00NEE PONDS 690 Ml Akxadar Rd 370 6122 I stf fjj - Mr.. Brian Chettle with his unique ilinga sports cor. A 'winner' that was a first and a last The advertising brochure is almost as sleek as the car itself. Ilinga, it promises, is a "return to true handcraftsmanship, Uncompromising, elegant, luxurious. Exclusively Australian". That was five years ago. The nine Melbourne businessmen behind the Ilinga sports car seemed to be on a winner. Orders from car enthusiasts flooded in. The car's maker planned to manufacture 100 in the first year a,t $18,000 each. More later. Yesterday the owner of the one and only Ilinga car in the world, Mr. Brian Chettle, decided to sell. For the past few years Ilinga, which will be remembered by motoring fans for introducing a new optimism in the industry, has been gathering dust in various warehouses. Because of problems with the auto-, matic transmission, which could not be solved on a shoe-string budget, Ilinga Pty. Ltd. was wound up with lossses of between $300,000 and $400,000. Mr. Chettle acquired the sports car 12 months ago when he bought a Fern-Tree Gully car yard. "1 have enjoyed looking after it as a collector's item. But now might be the time to sell," he said. The price? "I would think about $50,000 but would consider offers," Mr. Chettle said. Honesty doestft pay for ship jumper ' George Bourolias, 22, has found no gain in trying to be honest. He found the Immigration Department has no sympathy for illegal immigrants -who give themselves up. He jumped ship when he was 18, three and a half years ago, to stay in Aus-. tralia with his mother and sister. He lived happily un- til March 15 when he de- -cided to report to the authorities and apply for permanent residence. He has not been home-since. He was taken immediately to the Maribymong -Detention Centre. The future seemed bleak;; for him, his brother-in-law, Mr. Eleftherios Dimopoulos -said yesterday. After deportation to Greece he would have to face the con-.. sequences of having jumped ship. Mr. Dimopoulos, of MiU ton Crescent, Preston, is al- . so concernedHFor Mr. Bout rolias' 19-year-old fiancee, . Agape Sikiotakis, who, he ' said lost her job through Commonwealth Police visit- -ing her almost every day at He fears his brother-in-.. law may De court maruau- -ed for desertion because he .. was of military service age,, Mr. Dimopoulos wants to-pay his brother-in-law's airfare back to Greece, but has been told this is not depart- . mental policy. He also wants to put up bail so the ', family can spend together' Greek Easter, which begins done either. A spokesman for the ' Commonwealth Department" of Immigration and Ethnic-' Affairs said the Minister:"-had signed a deportation oraer ior aourouas in Juiy -1976 when the shipping,, company reported his desertion. He said the Minister, Mr. MacKellar, had .' reviewed the case and hat not changed his decision. " He said the Government ' did not insist that Bourolias return to Greece, only thai ' he leave Australia. Pants, purse shoe found in paddock ADELAIDE. A woman's shoe, the partial remains of a pair of panties and a small purse were found yesterday in a police search of a country paddock in which a killer has dumped the bodies of two girls. One of three other missing girls, who police fear may also have been killed and dumped in the paddock, was wearing shoes similar to the one found yesterday. The purse could belong to either of the two skeletons found by police. The panties were thought to have been from the skeleton of Sylvia Pittmann 16, of Taperoo, which was found in the paddock on Sunday. On Anzac Day last year the body of Veronica Knight, 18, was found in the same paddock. Both girls disappeared during the Christmas-New Year period of 1976-1977. Police fear that the INVESTIGATOR WILL PROBE PARK CLAIM A special investigator has been appointed by the State Government to examine Aboriginal claims to a regional park' near Warr-nambool. A spokesman for the Aborigines, Mr. Len Clarke, said yesterday an anthropologist would study the Framlingham Regional Park to see if it had any tribal significance. The appointment of Dr. Diane Barwick, a researcher with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Affairs, followed a meeting yesttr-'. day between Framlingham ' Aborigines and the Minister", for Conservation, Mr. Borth-wick. Aborigines have been blocking the entrance to the untouched 1000-hectare , regional park for a week protesting against the Land Conservation Council's rv commendations for it. The council recommended the park be run by the Forests Commission in con-, sulfation with' the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust. .',. LA TORRE B.Y.O. RESTAURANT A LA CARTE MENU . Fine French & Italian cuisine. Distinctive at- mosphere. , Lunch Tue.-Friday 12-2 pm, ' Dinner Mon.-Sat. 6-12 pm. First floor 223 Upper Heidelberg RrL. Ivanhoe. Res. 497 1960. bodies of three other teenage girls who disappered about the same time could be found in the paddock. . Police said yesterday the discoveries would be scientifically examined and attempts would be made to identify them. "We will not at this stage be speculating on who may have owned them," the officer in charge of the search, Inspector N. Mackenzie, said. The shoe was found against the base of a tree near the area where Veronica Knight's body was found. A girl, 15, who has not been named by police, who disappeared from her home in February, 1977, was wearing a similar shoe when last seen. The panties, along with three rib bones, thought to be human, were also found near the area where Veronica Knight's body was found. The small purse was found about 200 metres from where the body of Sylvia Pittmann was found. Ill Sdnmmel! Ranos Fully imported from West Germany ... a combination of superb tone and touch. Beautifully designed and crafted cabinets. Uprights from WT50. Grand from $9695. M.LAMS MUSIC 276 Collins St City 63 0451 BENOtQO: Fountain 434744 KEW:7G0High l Street 8698586 I X mm Just ask any of thousands of Australians who buy CRICKETER each month. Our April edition with Kim Hughes on the cover, features the Sheffield. Pakistan in Australia. England tour wrap-up plus our extensive Australia-wide coverage. 80 cents. 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