Police were predicting 400 people might turn up, instead up to 5000 scientists and science supporters rallied and marched through Melbourne streets as part of the global #marchforscience rallies organized in about 600 cities and towns around the world.
Australia’s scientists have already felt Federal budget cuts for science research and funding for the CSIRO reduced, and have campaigned against such attacks on science with some limited success, with the aid of international colleagues.
The inauguration of the Trump regime in the United States and the spectacular success of the women’s march on Washington DC the day after inauguration were strong motivating factors for scientists to organise this very public statement of the necessity of science in the modern world.
Speakers for the Melbourne march included:
- Professor Fiona Stanley – epidemiologist, medical researcher, founding director of the Telethon Kids Institute and Australian of the Year (2003)
- Professor Peter Doherty AC – immunologist, author, Nobel Prize winner and Australian of the Year (1997)
- Hon Dr Barry Jones AC – former Australian science minister, author, and living treasure
- Upulie Divisekera – scientist, science communicator, PhD student in nanotechnology and vocal advocate for science and diversity in science
- Dr Sherry Mayo – CSIRO research scientist with extensive experience in different aspects of x-ray science
- Dr Penny Whetton – CSIRO research scientist and IPCC author with extensive experience in climate science
- Professor Terry Speed – Laboratory head, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
Read a local report by Alexandra Laskie in The Age: Fact over fiction: Thousands rally to Melbourne’s inaugural March for Science
See the diversity of people and their messages in the photos taken by our Nofibs Melbourne citizen journalist, John Englart. These photos are also available at high resolution with a Creative Commons licence (CC-by-SA) at John’s Flickr site. View some of the social media in the storify: Melburnians #marchforscience on #earthday2017
Cities around Australia came out in support of science. Rally numbers included up to 5000 people in Melbourne, up to 4000 in Sydney, 1,000 in Canberra, 1,000 in Brisbane, 500 in Perth, 250 in Adelaide, 350 in Hobart, 60 people in Launceston, and smaller rallies in Port Macquarie, Townsville, Armidale and other regional towns.