Flat White

Since when was it the Press Council’s job to adjudicate on science? The APC’s stitch-up of Ian Plimer and attack on free speech

10 August 2020

5:00 AM

10 August 2020

5:00 AM

On November 21, 2019, The Australian published an article on its opinion pages and online titled; ‘Let’s Not Pollute minds with Carbon Fears by Ian Plimer, Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences at the University of Adelaide and author of numerous books including; Heaven + Earth: Global Warming the Science, Not for Greens: He who Sups with the Devil Should have a Long Spoon, and The Climate Change Delusion and the Great Electricity Rip-off.

In the 1065 words published in The Australian, Plimer skewered climate alarmists with a machine-gun attack of facts, calling out “ignorant activ­ists, populist scaremonger­s, vote-chasing politicians and green rent-seekers” for their deceptions and fraud.

However, as we have seen time after the time, climate alarmists can’t stand such inconvenient truths being discussed; they want debate silenced and free speech extinguished. For theirs is a cult where groupthink rules and independent thinking and alternate views are thought-crimes, so Plimer must be silenced, not debated.

Leading the attack was the noted shrill for climate alarmism, the taxpayer-funded ABC’s Media Watch, which despite being one of the most expensively produced programs per broadcast minute of airtime on Australian television, was unable to come up with a single fact to dispute any of Plimer’s words and could only resort to name-calling and rhetoric.

This was followed by confused warmists and indoctrinated climate cult members (the majority of who live off the tit of the productive economy and have plenty of time to spare) using the complaint’s process of Australian Press Council as a punishment, by bombarding the APC with complaints about Professor Plimer’s published opinion piece.  This tactic forced The Australian to spend time, money and resources defending against these complaints. And, as a commercial organisation, this placed pressure on the management and editorial staff that could lead them to question if is it worth publishing the opinions of those who dare question the dogma of the warmist cult in the future if they are going to be burdened with the costs of defending such opinions. This tactic is just another form of ‘cancel culture’ used by eco-fascists to suppress free speech and silence debate.

In adjudicating a complaint, the test for the APC is not if an opinion is right or wrong, the test if the opinion “is not based on significantly inaccurate material”. Therefore a strong and independent Press Council, one that values the cherished principles of free speech and open debate, should have quickly dismissed such complaints against Plimer’s opinion piece.

However, instead, it appears that the Press Council has decided it exists to rule on matters scientific, for the Press Council’s adjudication that Plimer’s opinion piece concluded that it breached the PC’s ‘General Principles 1 and 3’. This is curious in the extreme; a sell-out of free speech, a stitch-up job and an adjudication more befitting a kangaroo court or Soviet political trial.

At its highest, of Plimer’s 1065 published words, the APC could find fault with just two; the words; ‘fraudulent’ and ‘unsubstantiated’. So let’s go through this disgraceful adjudication point by point.

Changing of past weather records?

Firstly, in its adjudication the APC states:

The Council considers that the statement concerning the Bureau of Meteorology fraudulently changing weather records is one of fact and implies an element of dishonesty or deception on its part.”

But hang on, it ‘is one of fact’ that Plimer’s article makes no mention whatsoever concerning the Bureau of Meteorology. His words were:

Such terms are deliberately misleading, as are many claims. But then again, we should be used to this after the hysteria about the Great Barrier Reef bleaching that has really been occurring for hundreds of years, fraudulent changing of past weather records, the ignoring of data that shows Pacific islands and the Maldives are growing rather than being inundated, and unsubstantiated claims polar ice is melting. By ignoring history and geology, any claim of unusual weather can be made sensational.


The APC’s adjudication verbals Plimer and sets up a straw man argument ‘’concerning the Bureau of Meteorology’’.  And then, the APC attacks this straw man argument, by spuriously defending the Bureau. This is curious conduct on behalf of the APC.

Any unbiased evaluation of Plimer’s published opinion that there has been ‘‘fraudulent changing of past weather records” would firstly look to determine if there is any evidence of  ‘changing of past weather records’. And if so, based on the evidence, does Plimer have reasonable grounds for holding that opinion?

If the APC had of undertaken such an evaluation, they would have discovered that there are truckloads of evidence of changing of past weather records.

Where does one start. From the deletion of many of Australia’s hottest ever recorded days from history (for example Bourke’s 51.7C measured in 1909), the repeated adjustments to long term temperature records by the cooling of the past,  the deletion of the Medieval Warming period in the infamous and discredited ‘Hockey Stick’ graph, the Bureau’s changing of their ‘very hot days’ graph (cunningly cooling days of past and finding more hot days of recent times under their “homogenisation” processes), the changes to Marble Bar’s recorded temperatures from the 1920s (robbing it of the world’s longest heatwave) the list goes on and on.

In any unbiased adjudication, the APC would have stated these facts upfront, acknowledging that weather records have been altered in the past, but they failed to so.

Climategate Emails

If the APC were making a fair adjudication, they might have started by considering the Climategate emails, where a small cabal of so-called ‘climate scientists’ that where behind publishing global temperature records, were found to exchanged emails referring to “hiding the decline” and  It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip” referring hot temperature records of the 1940sAnd who can forget this one: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temperatures to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

Numerous books have been published about this scandal. In Hiding the Decline : A History of the Climategate Affair, A.W Montford wrote;

In November 2009, hundreds of emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia were released onto the internet. The messages, sent between some of the world’s most prominent climatologists revealed an extraordinary array of malpractice, with scientists manipulating data, breaching freedom of information laws and trying to crush dissenting views.

The introduction to the book Climategate : A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes the Global Warming Scam by Brian Sussman states;

Those now notorious intercepted emails documenting leading scientists conspiring to squelch global-warming skeptics and falsifying data proved exactly what Brian Sussman has been saying for years.

The emails from the Climategate scandal have the stench of fraud all over them and although there have been attempts to whitewash them, these alone completely justify a person holding an opinion that there has been fraudulent changing of past weather records. And that should be game, set and match to Plimer.

The Hockey Stick

Then there is the infamous and now highly discredited ‘Hockey Stick’ graph, which featured prominently in the U.N. 2001 climate report. The Hockey Stick changed past weather records, deleting both the Medieval Warming period and the Little Ice Age, by showing about 500 years of temperature stability, followed by a huge spike in global average temperatures in the 20th century.

Mann v Ball

Anyone who has followed the Hockey Stick scandal and the aborted defamation case Mann v. Ball would be justified in holding the opinion that there has been fraudulent changing of past weather records.

In this case, the notorious Michael Mann of Penn State University filed an action on March 25, 2011, against Professor Tim Ball for Ball’s allegedly libellous statement that Mann “belongs in the state pen, not Penn State” and play on words insinuating that Mann’s belongs in a jail not a university for his alleged fraudulent changing past climate records in the Hockey Stick graph.  

Ball’s legal team pursued the ‘truth defence’, therefore the case boiled down to whether Ball’s words, after examining the key evidence, fairly and accurately portrayed Mann. The aim was to compel the plaintiff [Mann] to show his full methodology to check if he knowingly and criminally misrepresented his claims by resorting to statistical fakery.

However, despite Ball’s best efforts over eight years, Mann refused to surrender to an open court his full methodology for the Hockey Stick graph.

Ultimately the Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed the defamation lawsuit and award full costs to Ball, the defendant in the case. The final court ruling, in effect, vindicated Ball’s criticisms – and therefore provides yet further justification for anyone to hold the opinion that there has been fraudulent changing of past weather records.

And that should have been game, set and match to Plimer.

Craig Kelly is the Liberal Member for Hughes.

Illustration: Flickr.

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