Friday, 21 December 2007

Rudd government to censor Australia's scientific and research agencies?

The Sydney Morning Herald is today reporting news that I, at least, find a little concerning.

SOME of Australia's major institutions will have their media releases vetted by the Rudd Government to make sure they reflect Labor's "key messages".

Recipients include the CSIRO, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, the Australian Research Council, the Co-operative Research Centres and Invest Australia. Even the Questacon science museum in Canberra was sent the directive.

It says the Prime Minister's office has instructed that "all strategic media releases which relate to the Government's key messages" must be forwarded to the department which will then submit them to the office of the minister, Kim Carr.

If necessary, Senator Carr would send the release to the Prime Minister's office. The department would contact the agency "regarding required changes".


One former Liberal minister called the Rudd Government "control freaks".

"The CSIRO sent out a lot of things that were quite contrary to our position on climate change. We just gritted our teeth and wore it," he said.

I'm quite confident that this is, ultimately, one of the main things this is about. It is these agencies who are likely to product research which is, ultimately, critical of the Rudd government's committment to coal-fired electricity generation.

Mr Paterson said statutory authorities should not be immune.

"There's a mindset with some that statutory authorities are independent for all purposes. They're not," he said.

If this is the mindset that the goverment applies to scientific researchers and scientific research organisations, then they've just destroyed the scientific usefulness of these organisations.

This is concerning news, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. This approach completely backfired on Bush - and not all that long ago.

    What are they thinking??

    These will continue to be interesting times...