Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Defend the CSIRO!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Text of a Socialist Party leaflet circulated at the April 2 rally to save CSIRO jobs in Melbourne.

No more cuts! No more job losses!

The CSIRO is a renowned, publicly-owned research institute that has been at the forefront of scientific research for decades. Since the hated 2014 Abbott budget there has been $115 million in funding cuts to the CSIRO and 20% of the workforce has been shed. Last month a plan to cull a further 350 jobs was revealed. Up to 110 of the jobs proposed to go will be in the crucial area of climate science.

Why is the government doing this?

Australian businesses have traditionally focused on the resources, agriculture and tourism sectors for short term profits rather than on scientific innovation which requires investment in research and development. Big businesses also attack the CSIRO as through their research they have exposed how profit-driven corporations are destroying the planet.

While the federal government’s cuts are crippling the CSIRO, the Turnbull Government has spent $28 million on a propaganda campaign for an ‘Ideas Boom’ to prove they have a technology-driven alternative to the waning mining boom. At the same time, $15 million will be spent on a new Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Growth Centre to help polluting industries continue to reap huge profit.

How can they be fought?

The union representing CSIRO staff has been waging a rolling campaign of regional rallies against the job cuts. The union have said they refuse to accept the cuts until the CSIRO board commits to a ‘consultation process’. While rallies are a good first step, there is no reason to believe that ‘consultation’ is an effective means to stop these cuts.

Last year CSIRO staff took limited strike action in their enterprise bargaining campaign. The severity of these job cuts demands that such action is taken again, and escalated. CSIRO staff could also aim to link up with other community groups fighting harsh government policies, including LGBTIQ activists currently fighting against attacks on the Safe Schools program, and doctors, medical staff, and community members who have recently taken a stand against the government’s harsh refugee policies.

System change not climate change!

The government’s actions speak louder than their words. The major parties accept big donations from companies that profit from pollution. The only realistic way to combat global warming is large scale public investment in sustainable alternative energy coordinated on a national and international level. However both parties are committed to private ownership of industry and a market approach that has completely failed climate science for 30 years.

We must rebuild the environmental and workers movements to challenge capitalism itself. We have to bring major industries into public ownership with democratic control, and take back the huge wealth wasted on profits for a minority.

A democratic planned economy can provide jobs, housing, education and healthcare and the changes needed to address catastrophic climate change.

The Socialist party demands:

-No cuts to the CSIRO, tax the rich to fund investment in scientific research

-No more job losses and for all axed positions to be re-instated

-Strike action to unite workers and the community against all budget cuts

-Immediate action on climate change, no subsidies for polluting industries

-A political alternative to the rule of big business: people and the planet before profit


The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare many of the problems with capitalism. The Socialist strives to explain the systemic causes of this crisis, and reports about the issues that are important to working people. We also help to organise struggles against the powers that be.

We don’t receive a cent from big business or governments. Our work is fully funded by our supporters. Even if half the people who read our website every month donated a few dollars each we would raise thousands to help our work!

We need organisations of struggle now more than ever, so if you support what we do please consider making a donation.

One-off or regular donations can be made securely HERE.