ANU: Kangaroo cull discussion turned to 'threat of physical violence'

FOI request

UPDATE 1: Andrew Bolt has a lengthy article here (paywalled):

“Perfect Climate for Hollow Threats

IT was just too convenient, which is why some of us smelled a rat the day the story broke. It was June last year, and here’s the start of a Canberra Times story that went around the world.

“Australia’s leading climate change scientists are being targeted by a vicious, unrelenting email campaign that has resulted in police investigations of death threats.”

UPDATE 2: Tim Blair has more here.

UPDATE 3: Scans of The Australian article and Tim Blair’s article added below.

The Australian, which is doing a brilliant job of covering this story (thank you Christian), reports on page 2 the innocent discussion of kangaroo culling which top climate scientists at ANU decided to regard as a “death threat”:

SECOND-HAND accounts of a casual chat about Canberra’s regular kangaroo culls over dinner at an Australian National University forum on climate change turned the talk into a “serious threat of physical violence” against ANU researchers, one of the participants in the conversation believes.

The Australian revealed this month that 10 of 11 documents found in the wake of a Freedom of Information request lodged with the ANU after reports in Fairfax Media and on the ABC of “death threats” against climate scientists at the university were found by the Privacy Commissioner not to “contain threats to kill or threats of harm”.

An 11th, the commissioner ruled, “could be regarded as intimidating and at its highest perhaps alluding to a threat”. But he added: “I consider the danger to life or physical safety in this case to be only a possibility, not a real chance.”

The email says: “Looks like we’ve had our first serious threat of physical violence.”

A climate sceptic taking part in a deliberative democracy project on climate change in May 2010, it continues, “showed other participants his gun licence and explained to them how good a sniper he is”.

Retired Canberra public servant and 20-year kangaroo culler John Coochey believes he is the kangaroo culler referred to.

Mr Coochey took part in the first day of the project.

At a dinner for participants, he says, he was approached by the ACT’s then commissioner for sustainability and the environment, Maxine Cooper, whom he knew over matters to do with kangaroo culling, a vexed issue in Canberra.

Dr Cooper, Mr Coochey says, asked how he had gone in the annual accreditation test cullers are required to pass.

“I answered that I had top-gunned it with a perfect score,” he told The Australian.  “I also showed her my new culling – not firearms – licence.”

Mr Coochey says he realised some fellow participants might have been disquieted by kangaroo shooting, so he “made small talk” about the marksmanship expertise needed to gain the licence.

“This has now been portrayed as ‘showing a firearms licence and boasting about my ability as a sniper’,” he complained yesterday. (source)

But for our brave climate experts, it’s back to business as usual, as commenter OhSmeg reports the ABC is already on to the rehabilitation process, interviewing Will Steffen on ABC Breakfast this morning, spruiking yet more alarmist projections (widely reported in Fairfax*, surprise!) for the end of the world due to a tiny increase in a harmless trace gas.

Funnier still however, is that he allegedly blamed the overreaction to the emails on “security experts”. Have yet to see the video of this exchange but will post when it becomes available.

*Fairfax inadvertently captions a photo of Flannery with the term “climate activist” – at least they’re finally honest about that. Impartial my foot.

The Australian, p2, 14 May 2012 (click to enlarge)

Tim Blair, Daily Telegraph, p13, 14 May 2012 (click to enlarge)


  1. Thumbnail says:

    Thank you Simon for doing the time to expose these screamers for what they are. I fail to understand how anyone could treat the Canberra Times with any degree of confidence, nor most of the enemedia. Let’s keep the internet open, accessible and free of government scrutiny.

  2. These people are like teen age girl drama queens. always thinking it’s about them.. Narcissistic to say the least

  3. tony thomas says:

    An important angle is “What WAS the ‘meeting’ and ‘Deliberative Democracy’ process from where this ‘death threat’ saga emanated? Full details, including the $378k cost to taxpayers, are here:

  4. Garry Nosworthy says:

    I had a good chuckle when I read the SMH’s description of Flannery as a Climate Activist and then the article goes on to describe the panel of which he is the chief commissioner as ‘independent’. LMFAO.

    Flannery is reported as saying;
    ‘Climate change ”cannot be ruled out” as a factor in recent heavy rainfalls’
    well, nor could divine intervention if you are religious or secret cloud seeding by Russian spies if you’re a conspiracy theorist.

    I can just visualise what Flannery does before he hits the sack at night, hands tightly clasped together under chin;

    ‘Dear lord, please, please bring me an extreme weather event that I can predict beforehand, do this for me lord and I promise to be good! ……….Amen’.

  5. Who will stand down at ANU now that the cat’s out of the bag?

    After all, when the Commandant of ADFA was mere suspected of not acting correctly, he was stood aside for an extended period, much longer than what it took to clear him of any suspicions. Now compare that to ANU’s VC who knowingly facilitated a media beatup; establishing a perception of threats in the public eye; when there was absolutely no substance.

    BTW: Another abbreviation to jot on the bog-roll: FASTS


  1. […] into conformity, by accusing dissenters of attacking the messenger (like they did with the non-death threats) and being […]

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