Posed 3 September 2012

Issues relating to climate and its variability have been among the most vulnerable to assault on freedom of speech. This topic was addressed recently in Australia by Senator  George Brandis when he delivered the third Sir Harry Gibbs Memorial Oration to the 2012 Annual Conference of the Sir Samuel Griffith Society in Brisbane. Excerpt: "the science is settled. - Now not only is this a profoundly ignorant thing to say – a denial of the very essence of the scientific method. More disturbingly, it is an assertion that this is not an issue which can properly be the subject of political debate, because it is a technical issue – an issue for scientists to decide; not an issue about which the general public – or even the Parliament ‐ are capable of having an informed opinion, and so not a matter of legitimate public discussion at all. It has become a standard tactic of the Gillard Government, to seek to place controversial issues beyond public discussion by invoking the superior wisdom of favoured 'experts'”.

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