ANU: more on the "gun licence" email

FOI request

With 10 of the 11 emails released by the ANU containing no threats, there has been considerable focus on the 11th, a third hand report of an alleged “threat” at an off-campus event, referred to as the “Deliberative democracy project”.

ACM commenter “mondo” was a participant at said project, referred to in Document 5. Click here to download the zip file if you haven’t done so already.

To give it its full title, which is (rather worryingly) Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance (“DDGG”) [who said anyone who mentions global governance is a conspiracy theorist? – Ed], part of the ANU, the unit describes itself thus:

Deliberative democracy is one of the major growth areas in contemporary political theory and social science, and ANU claims what is possibly the world’s largest concentration of deliberative democracy scholars. Many of the world’s leading deliberative democrats have spent time with us. The ‘Global Governance’ in our title emphasises research directions that encompass transnational democracy and democratisation, though research on democratic theory, local and national deliberation, and the micropolitics of deliberative forums also flourishes.

One of the projects of the DDGG was entitled “Climate Change & the Public Sphere” has a web site here with rather paltry information. It appears the intention of the project was to subject some volunteers to some alarming projections of possible climate change between now and 2100, asking them at each stage to answer a number of identical questions – presumably to show how they would be more willing to accept the alarmist scenarios when presented with this kind of information. The final research paper from the project appears to be this one.

The project took place on 28/29 May 2010, which ties in with the date the ANU email was sent (2 June 2010). That ANU email (document 5), which is claimed to be a veiled “death threat”, states :

Looks like we’ve had our first serious threat of physical violence. It has come from a participant in [redacted] deliberative democracy project last weekend. One of the participants left early after he too exception to my talk about climate science. [redacted] exact words were: 

“Moreover, before he left, he came to the Fri dinner and showed other participants his gun licence and explained to them how good a sniper he is. Because he didn’t attend day 2 he will not be allowed to attend the final day. I will be notifying security to be on hand in case he turns up and causes a problem.” 

I think the final day is this weekend but I am not sure. Anyway, I’ve asked [redacted] to brief the VC and the head of security ASAP. The latter will determine whether this should go to the AFP or not.

But in the meantime, we should be careful about anyone we don’t know who approaches our offices. 

Commenter John Coochey admits to being the person in question in a comment posted on ACM (and at other blogs – with my emphasis):

I feel I can now throw some light on the matter. The document viewed as most “threatening” referred to an alleged Deliberation at the ANU about climate change in the Canberra region at which one person “made a death threat” (sic) by showing his gun licence and boasting about his skill as a sniper.. Only two people dropped out of the conference only one of those who did so attended the even meal. Me. I am certainly the one who is alleged to show someone their gun licence. That is not true while at the evening meal (of poor quality) comments moved to eating game meat and I was approached by the Commissioner for the Environment ACT, Dr Maxine Cooper who recognized me as someone involved in the kangaroo culling program in the ACT. She politely asked if she could sit at the vacant seat next to me and asked if I had past the recent licence test – not easy. I replied yes and showed her my current licence. I also impressed on any one interested the high standard of marksmanship necessary to allay any cruelty concerns. I might add that earlier in the day I had challenged two speakers to comment on a letter in the Canberra Times that claimed that temperatures had not increased in the Canberra area for decades. They were unable to do so, having not apparently checked the record despite the the “Deliberation” (conference) supposed to be about rising temperatures in the Canberra region. As all daytime conversations were recorded (we all signed waivers to allow this) this can easily be checked.

Mondo has now followed up by admitting to being the second “sceptic” to pull out of the project (my emphasis):

I was the other sceptic who left on the first day – the “stressed” one. You might have seen my comments at Catallaxy, Bishop Hill and Andrew Bolt on this. In case you haven’t this is what I said:

“I was the first sceptic referred to in the updates – the one that was “stressed”. That is a correct description. What I was stressed about was the incredibly manipulative way in which the so-called “forum” was conducted.

For example, Messrs Steffen and his team delivered presentations on various aspects of climate change. We were not allowed to ask questions, or to challenge the multifarious false statements made. Instead, we broke out into groups, with the idea that a group could ask a question. Of course, each group was dominated by “warmists”, and the lone sceptic in each group was a) abused, b) derided, c) not listened to.

The result was that Steffen and co were presented with soft questions that were based largely on ill-informed views, convenient to the organisers.

It is true that I was feeling stressed. But the reason was because while this was billed as an open-ranging discussion, in fact it was a tightly choreographed, manipulative discussion designed to capture an outcome favourable to the warmists. In no way was it a fair discussion.

All this soon became clear to me, and it was evident to me that it was fruitless and pointless to stay. I explained my issue to the organiser, and then left.

I met John Coochey at the forum. He is a knowledgeable and capable person, and I trust his account of the events relating to his gun license.

In fact, one of the aspects that I was annoyed about was that the forum had been billed as a “Citizen’s Jury” which implied that there would be opportunity for the “jury” to hear both sides, to cross-examine witnesses etc. Instead it was a tightly choreographed, controlled presentation of weak arguments from one side, with no opportunity (effectively) to ask questions.

So now we have two independent accounts of events at the Deliberative  Democracy weekend. Unsurprisingly, with Will Steffen as one of the presenters, Mondo was rightly annoyed at the blatant propagandising of the climate debate according to the IPCC and the sceptics, in typical form, abused and ignored. So how was this comment so wildly misinterpreted by the project’s organisers that it turned into a “death threat”? Did they actually make any enquiries, or just take the email report of the exchange at face value?


  1. Garry Nosworthy says:

    [snip – agreed, but let’s not print it]
    Is Steffen a scientist or Propaganda Minister?

  2. One thing I know is that Steffen has no understanding of heat and mass transfer. No one in the world fully understands cloud formation and the influence of clouds on climate but Steffen does not even recognize that evaporation and condensation occur and influence the heat transfer to the earth from the sun and from the earth to space.
    It is also clear that Steffen does not adhere to a code of ethics such as in the Qld. Public Sector Ethics Act (which applies to Universities in Qld. and breaches are a criminal offense) and he most likely is in breach of the Australian Public Service (APS) code of conduct. Not sure if there is an ACT public service code of conduct. Maybe, Simon with his legal knowledge could check it out.

  3. Just looked up that there is an ACT Public Sector Management Act 1994, and a code of ethics which Steffen is likely to have breached.
    Maybe it information in the post above could be the basis of a complaint.

  4. Steven Hales says:

    I went to a DD project here in the States and one of hallmarks of these events is to frame the allowable choices that have been vetted by a committee of experts (wisemen?) that the unwashed masses can now safely discuss. It is a sham. It is meant to disenfranchise alternative views of how the world works. The guy sitting next to me left when his views on taxation of business were not taken seriously or that all business taxes are paid by consumers not by the business. The other thing that got almost no traction was that streamlining all regulatory activity to simplify and reduce costs was not viewed as something that would drive growth and hence future government revenues. In sum DD projects are gobsmackingly dumb.

  5. Everyone in Australia will pay for this.

    There, I’ve said it it. Come and get me if you want.

  6. Blame it on the ‘security experts!” Just saw Will Steffen on ABC Breakfast spruiking his latest doomday forecasts and then at the end blaming the security experts for their advice regarding the seriousness of the ‘death threats’.

    Watch it for yourself and laugh.

  7. Colin Young says:

    These guys like to draw the long bow – both the climate change ideas and these death threats follow the same formula: add just enough truth to make it seem believable – the weather changes (no-one argues that); and, someone at the event has a gun license.

    Now we know who the real conspiracy theorists are! (People will see in others that which they dislike about themselves.)

    Can you really trust someone who lives in abject fear and terror of everyone and everything? This is exactly whey they are called ‘alarmists’.

  8. pete the geo says:

    no real surprise here…And the thing is, I’ll bet the warmists see nothing at all wrong with the way this was run / managed / orchestrated….


  1. […] a  related note, Simon at Australian Climate Madness reports that another eyewitness has come forward and describes why Coochey didn’t bother to attend […]

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