Pyne accused the UWA academics of “shouting down” views with which they disagreed.
“We are disappointed that the university has indicated it cannot effectively deliver against the contract and is seeking to return $4 million in research funds. The Government is awaiting legal advice on the status of the contract,” Pyne said after the university’s announcement.
“The government is committed to establishing the consensus methodology in Australia and to ensuring a wide range of views on issues are aired publicly. An Australian consensus centre will be established in an alternative location.
“It is surprising that individuals at an institution of higher learning claiming to embrace the notion of academic and intellectual freedom would display intolerance and shout down a voice in the debate they simply don’t agree with,” Pyne said through a spokesman.
“A society which thrives on debate and a diversity of views should be a priority for all regardless of how fervently they oppose those views.”
The Guardian, May 2015
Mm, I wonder how Mr Pyne would feel if Labor had given a spare million or two to a university to set up a centre to study whether unions made a positive contribution to this country. Particularly if Steve Bracks were asked to head it.
Or what would his reaction be if The Greens had negotiated with the Labor minority government for Bob Brown to be in charge of a department in the university which studied the facts on climate change and tried to establish a consensus. You know, something like the Climate Council…
Oh wait, they shut that down!
Anyway, Pyne thinks Lomborg’s work is very important. And he’s not alone in that. Why Lomborg himself said his work was far too important “to let fall victim to toxic politics”. And Lomborg’s the sort of person that it’s worth spending $4 million to give a home to. Unlike the homeless, who don’t deserve anything.
Lomborg also thinks his work has been the victim of misinformed attacks. And he’s right there, because some people have been calling him a “climate denier” which is unfair because, like Andrew Bolt, he’s never denied the climate exists. Compared to Bolt, Lomborg is a lefty because he believes in the existence of man-made climate change, he just doesn’t think that we should be spending so much money on it, because, well, the money could be better spent getting coal to Africa, Or Consensus Centres.
We could spend all that money on developing solar energy, but what’ll we do when the sun runs out?
And while Lomborg is not a climate scientist, it’s important to get a range of views on these and other issues. The Consensus Centre wasn’t going to be discussing climate science. In fact, it was to be looking at economics, so there’s no reason to bring up Lomborg’s lack of climate science credentials. It would be more relevant to point out that he’s not an economist either, but he does have a Ph.D in political science, so that means he’s the ideal man to bring out to Australia to tell us how to best spend our money.
But I particularly liked Pyne’s response to the fact that the University have told him that they won’t be continuing with the centre and returning the money. He’s seeking legal advice! I’m wondering what he’s hoping the lawyers can tell him. Yes, Mr Pyne, you can force the university to be connected to this man and his centre, and yes, you can force them to say that you’re a very good education minister and very sexy because that was in the fine print of the contract.
I also liked that he said it “through a spokesman”. Perhaps, while drinking a glass of water.
But the part of what the Pyne/spokesmen said that really tickled me was the idea that the Australian government being committed to a consensus methodology no matter how much opposition it faced. We will decide what consensus comes to this country and the circumstances in which it comes.
Yep, we’ll have Consensus whether we like it or not.
Of course, I’m sure that Andrew Bolt and others will bleat about this being another shut down of free speech, completely overlooking the fact that none of the academics have actually said that Lomborg should be silenced. The main objections were to him receiving such a generous grant with no formal process, at a time when the government has been knocking out much of the money available for academic research in this country.