Last words on ANU FOI

FOI request

ANU have stifled any further attempt to reach the truth in this matter, having (a) refused to comment any further through their media office; and (b) quoted nearly $40k to search through their documents for the further evidence I have requested – a ridiculous amount clearly intended to thwart my request.

You’d think they’d have a big red file labelled “Death Threats” on a shelf somewhere, but apparently not. The threats were so serious (allegedly) that they kept no easily accessible records and will need to spend over 2500 man hours trawling through all their documents. Bizarre.

This signals the end of the line. I could appeal the quoted fee, but to be honest, I don’t have the inclination to pursue the matter any further.

Chris Merritt pens the final summary in The Australian:

ATTEMPTS to verify last year’s sensational reports of death threats against climate change scientists have been stymied by the Australian National University, which wants to be paid at least $37,800 to search its records for evidence that would support those reports.

The university has justified that fee by asserting that the search would take 2520 hours and occupy six employees for 60 days working seven-hours a day at $15 an hour.

ANU has also given notice that the final bill could be even higher as it would need to include an additional sum to cover the cost of deciding whether to make available the results of the search. Before it starts looking, the university wants a deposit of $9450.

The money demanded by ANU has forced lawyer and climate change blogger Simon Turnill to abandon his latest attempt to check the veracity of the assertions.

“I don’t know how they have arrived at this figure of over 2500 hours of work to identify these documents,” Mr Turnill said.

“The simplest option would be for ANU to come out and admit honestly what was received and what was not received. Making us go through an endless succession of hoops to get to the truth seems a very defensive and strange response.”

As part of his FOI application, Mr Turnill had also sought access to all documents and records containing communications with journalists — particularly those at The Canberra Times — about threats to staff at the university’s Climate Change Institute. (source)

Chris also writes here about the police reports of threats sent to them in 2006, years prior to the story breaking last June, and how statements from the ANU staff concerned, which would have allowed police to investigate further, were never received. The description of the letters provided by police does not tie in with the description supplied by the ANU in its statement.

So I guess we will never know the truth. People will inevitably draw their own conclusions from the evasive manner in which ANU have handled this entire episode, which has done little for openness, honesty and ultimately the credibility of the institution.

Sharing information, whether it be climate data or evidence to back up claims of death threats, seems to be very difficult for our climate scientists.


  1. agwnonsense says:

    Famous or not we thank you for your efforts in this matter.Climate Change is Natural and Co2 is life anything else is just crap.

  2. Sean McHugh says:

    So, does it boil down to the ANU gang furiously resisting attempts to examine the evidence that would supposedly clear them of lying to the media and public? Given their evasiveness, is a favorable conclusion still possible?

    Anyway, isn’t $40,00 (baloney, of course) small change for a university that receives nine figures in extra government funding (compliments of the taxpayer)?

    Is it surprising that they would do anything our dubious government wants?

  3. Baldrick says:

    “So I guess we will never know the truth.”

    It doesn’t take Einstein to figure out that the $40k fee is designed to suppress the truth. Nevertheless your efforts so far Simon, in this matter, should be applauded by those interested in the truth.

  4. Any chance of an appeal. That amount clearly pulled from someone’s backside and a clear attempt to conceal the truth.

    [REPLY – Not from me, Marc. I have other things I need to devote my time and efforts to.]

  5. Well, allegations of death threats MUST be backed up by evidence. A refusal to do so can only be construed as evidence that they lied (over-exaggerated is too kind a description for it).

  6. Pamela Arlous says:

    My heartfelt thanks for your work on making the death threats smear understandable. I had always thought it suspect but what you managed to find and publish made it all very clear. So did the university’s costings. I am so grateful that you and others like you are putting in time and effort to stop this monstrous climate lie.

    [REPLY – Thanks!]

  7. One would think that such important documents that really should have been reported to the federal police would be easily accessible.

    I think the fee pretty much sums up their intentions, or lack thereof.

  8. Sean McHugh says:

    Seriously, continuous lies seem to be normal for the Left, especially anything to do with climate control. Does anyone ever remember such dishonesty from government and government funded organisations? What country are we living in?

  9. Malcolm says:

    Of course its complete rubbish and yet another example of how they treat mere mortals as though we are idiots

    All the poor darlings have to do is send around an “All Staff” email asking for copies of any emails they consider threatening.

    Thye know that..we know that what does it tell you.

    There werent any in the first place.

  10. Richardn says:

    They may as well revert to the old favoutite “The dog ate our death threats”.

  11. With an estimate to carry out a search on the relatively small amount of documententaion they could possibly be providing the justification to review their work practices should a change of government eventuate.

  12. Thanks Simon for exposing the ANU for what they are really worth: Nothing useful, full of @ssholes blowing bullsh!t over anyone who dares to question their absurd and ludicrous claims, about everything and anything, really.

    I wonder how long it would take them to evidence their lost files to back up their position if they were really challenged?

  13. Olaf Koenders says:

    If a nation can’t face up to its history, it has no future. This should reasonably apply to the ANU also. I’ll do my best to link this story far and wide Simon. Hopefully some justice will prevail. Unfortunately, as history shows, all this insanity will quietly vanish into the ether. Lucky we have backups eh..?

  14. Sean McHugh says:

    In politics, Left stands for, ‘Lies every f…. time’.

  15. I understood that “email” was a shortened form of “electronic mail”, messages recorded in digital form. An amateur programmer could write a short piece of code to search for keywords, as was presumably done to create the original “climategate” archive. A climate modeller could knock it up in minutes, though in that case it might take several thousand runs to produce consistent results.

    I left the “death threat” archive with a friend without explaining the context or contents. When I visited a couple of days later, he asked me what on earth it was all about. When I revealed the chilling truth, he burst out laughing and dropped a mug containing the coffee he’d just poured for me. “What?” he spluttered – “DEATH threats? and doubled up again. ‘ nuff said I think.

  16. Baldrick says:

    According to the ANU’s own FOI website they’re making it easier to access information through:
    – A culture of ‘pro-disclosure’ (favouring release of information) &
    – The abolition of application fees and reducing processing fees.

    Are these guys serious? What a joke!

  17. Simon, The ACT has an “Ethics in the ACT Public Service ” booklet. I downloaded a copy dated Aug 2005. The code of Ethics comes under the Public Sector Management Act 1994. The latter Act applies to the two ACT universities (similar to the various Public sector/service management and/or ethics acts in other states).
    I would suggest, that the Vice-Chancellor of the ANU is in breach of the code of ethics and you could put in a complaint to the ACT Chief Minister Department which issued the ethics booklet.

  18. You know what, about those death threats… the ANU is simply saying “Ok, you got us… the death threats were non existent… a lie. Get off our back.”

    The ANU is just too gutless to actually admit it.

  19. Confusious says:

    Leftwing brood. Should get all the government grants reviewed once Gillard regime is kicked out!

  20. Doug Proctor says:

    It appears these days that you can lie in public regardless of how high you are in society as long as you can’t be actually charged with a criminal act. Credibility is unimportant. Achieving your goal is the only way metric of success or admiration.

    Recall that the original “climategate” hack is still not being investigated. Still being used to show how the climate scientists are martyrs, while no effort is being made to find and punish those responsible (as they already know all they need to know, and a court case would be more revealing than they want).

    We live in strange times. Or at least times in which we are shown how strange politics causes people to behave. And always has.

    I really don’t know whether to despair, shrug or go ballistic.

  21. AndrewB says:

    How nice – putting up lies is apparently free, but getting the truth out will cost one $40,000. Unbelievable!

  22. David C says:

    Go on – appeal it, don’t be lazy. They’re on the run, keep chasing!

    [REPLY – It isn’t laziness, it’s merely that the ANU has made the point for me – there were no death threats.]

  23. Russell Turley says:

    Firstly ” an area the size of Wales is disappearing every year” – (the amazon in the eighties.) Secondly “the hole in the Ozone layer is going to kill us all”( in the nineties). Now (from the aptly named Noughties onwards ) “Global warming”
    Funny, there was a hiatus in the latter half of the seventies – they were probably breeding , doing arts degrees and/or gloating over their “success” in ending the Vietnam war – Now these “Hippies” are slowly dying – reflecting on the lack of impact their lives have had, and are frantically screamin their deathknell on this issue. I didn’t buy any beads from them back then mann and I’m not about to start.

  24. Russell Turley says:

    P.S. = The Amazon is still amazin, I am one oz who is still protected by ozone, and I carbn’t believe we are falling for the carbon tax.

  25. Amfortas says:

    If nothing else this entire affair has shown just how corrupt and cowardly the leadership of the Australian national University is. It is a disgrace and an indictment. Those involved are all paid from the taxpayers’ pockets, living high on the hog and lying like Dicky Mint trim sheets. A pox on them.


  1. […] When challenged to show them, they said “make us”. When issued with an FOI request, they said it’d cost $40,000 (or more!) and take 2520 hours to produce evidence of the threats. […]

%d bloggers like this: