Australian government endorses Report banning publication of all but government approved science; proof if it were needed that Australian politics and post-normal science is in crisis.
In a shocking story If It Can Happen Down Under by Hal G.P.Colebatch (American Spectator, April 4, 2012) citizens are gearing up for a “head-on assault on Australia’s entire political culture of liberty and democracy.” In effect, the Australian Labor Party and extreme leftist Greens are preparing to make law the 470-page Finkelstein Report to ban from it’s borders those scientists and free-thinkers that are increasingly congregating to the maverick independent global science community, Principia Scientific International (PSI). PSI was founded precisely to fulfill a growing need because mainstream journals are increasingly shown to be refusing to publish any counter-establishment science.
One such victim of Australia’s attack on science is Professor Alberto Boretti, Assoc. Professor at the University of Ballarat, School of Science & Engineering. Dr. Boretti, a computational expert, has struggled for two years trying to get mainstream journals to publish his damning study proving government scientists have been falsifying sea level rises around the coasts of Australia. He found, “The measured rate of rise of sea levels is not increasing and climate models should be revised to match the experimental evidence.”
Dr. Boretti’s work was painstakingly reviewed by dozens of independent scientists connected with PSI but still the mainstream journals refused to touch it, he claims, for political reasons.
According to Professor Boretti and his PSI colleagues, the Report’s recommendations will make matters far worse. The recommendations are from retired Federal Court Judge Roy Finkelstein and are dubbed as the government’s vendetta against the Murdoch press in an attempt to make the media more “accountable.” Under the anti-Murdoch smokescreen the government is taking for itself the power to impose “professional standards.” Finkelstein wants a News Media Council (NMC) set up to license the press and to censor news reporting and political commentary (including websites).
Colebatch explains that in paragraph 4.10 of the Finkelstein report “it is stated that the council should control speech in Australia because the people are too stupid to be allowed free access to news.”
Worryingly, the NMC attack on free speech is not being faced down by the Australian Opposition so is more likely to become law. Liberal Party’s media spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull has been ambiguous and equivocal about the Report claiming “It has been said that the legal arrangements at present” (that is, ordinary freedom of speech) “do not adequately advance the public interest.”
Science Already Shackled by Corrupt Peer-review System
So how does this impact independent science think tanks and online publishers like Principia Scientific International?
First, the Report doesn’t define what “political commentary” includes and, being that most national governments are invested in science, any new science refuting or in any way critical of government science will be construed as “political commentary.” As Finklestein wants the Australian government to be the arbiter of what constitutes political commentary we can be sure that its Ministry of Truth thought police will likely ban whatever doesn’t conform to its views.
Second, the Report wants websites that get more than 15,000 hits a year (an average of 41 a day) to be subject to NMC’s government censorship putting all content at risk if anything on the website could be described as “news, information and opinion of current value.”
Clearly, science that is new may be considered “news” and the conclusions of scientists can be judged to be “opinion of current value.” As such there will be nowhere for independent scientists and intellectuals to share their ideas if this draconian mind control policy becomes law.
As most scientists who don’t work for government-backed institutions know all too well, it’s nigh on impossible to get any science paper published that promotes any ideas contrary to the orthodoxy. This is most apparent in the way mainstream science journals vet submissions behind closed doors in the post-normal fashion so tellingly exposed during the Climategate scandal. Thousands of leaked emails in November 2009 exposed how a clique of government scientists manipulated major science journals to act as gatekeepers against any science opposed to the government orthodoxy. It is because of the self-evident bias in the “peer-review process” of mainstream science publishing that Principia Scientific International (PSI) was formed and why so much cutting-edge science debate now takes place in the blogosphere.
So, all honest scientists and supporters of free speech should heed the words of Keith Windschuttle, editor of Quadrant, who has written defiantly:
“If this oppressive scheme is ever implemented, we would feel compelled to defend the long tradition of press freedom by engaging in civil disobedience. While ever I am editor, Quadrant would not recognize the News Media Council’s authority, we would not observe its restrictions, and we would not obey its instructions, whatever the price. We hope other publishers will take a similar stand.”
Read the full and unexpurgated diktats of the Finkelstein Report here.Below is my legal analysis of the wording of the salient parts of the Report. Like with most things drafted by govt. the blandness of the wording hides the sinister intent as may be seen in paras. 2.22;4.9; and 4.10 below: