Free from intimidation

We must stand up for the right of researchers to put forward their views free from intimidation, says UNSW's Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Les Field, who's welcomed the government's condemnation of threats against climate change scientists.

UNSW's Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Les Field has welcomed the Federal Government's condemnation of threats against climate change scientists.

"We must stand up for the right of every researcher to put forward their views and have them debated in a climate free from intimidation," Professor Field said.

"It is an absolute travesty to see any researcher receiving threats or being intimidated over research that they have undertaken properly and published for public comment.

"The practice of intimidation, bullying and threats simply shouldn't be tolerated. To the extent that this is illegal, it should be dealt with by the force of the law," Professor Field said.

The Federal Government this week joined Universities Australia in condemning the threats against the climate change scientists, saying the behaviour is contemptible and has no place in Australia.

It followed confirmation from the Australian National University in Canberra that it had been forced to move its scientists into more secure facilities after several climate change scientists received death threats. Scientists from UNSW and the University of Melbourne also reported receiving abusive emails and phone calls, including threats of violence, sexual assault or attacks on family members.

Minister for Tertiary Education Senator Chris Evans said Australia prided itself on being a country in which public debate is open and informed by the facts.

"No-one should feel intimidated about expressing their views openly, irrespective of which side of the debate they are on," he said.

The experiences of UNSW's scientists are outlined in the Winter edition of Uniken, which investigates how and why pseudo-science is hijacking the climate change debate.

Read the latest issue now.

Media contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media Office | 02 9385 8107