The Institute for Public Affairs, Australia’s “leading free market think tank (and long known for its lack of objectivity), has decided to fund some PhD research using funds from climate skeptic and philanthropist Bryant Macfie. Whilst I’ve made my concern over the behaviour of the IPA and certain members clear in the past, I don’t see any problem with this generous gift as long as we “fiercely maintain our independence” as a university. This is one of the key litmus tests for accepting any funding – I think the Australian title “Dispute over climate sceptic uni grant” seems like a bit of a storm in a tea cup. Of course, the very fact that Mr Macafie wrote such a trite opinion piece in the Higher Education supplement this week, should raise our suspicions to a high level!
“Today we are faced with a newer religion known as environmental activism which has insinuated itself into some aspects of science. It shares some of the intolerance to new or challenging ideas with the old. Immolation at the stake is no longer fashionable but it has been replaced by pillory in the media.
The new faith makes it apostasy to question the proposition that our river systems are dying and that nothing like this has ever happened before. And it is the blackest heresy to suggest that the beatification of St Al and the Goronites may be a little premature.” (Read more)
Indeed. Jennifer Marohasy and the IPA have long been known for their advocacy for particular causes which strangely always seem to support particular sectors of industry (which provides clarity on this recent post). Here is what Source Watch has to say:
The IPA has heavily relied on funding from a small number of conservative corporations. Those funders disclosed by the IPA to journalists and media organisations include:
- Major mining companies – BHP-Billiton and Western Mining Corporation;
- Pesticides/Genetically modified organisms: Monsanto; and
- A range of other companies including communications company Telstra, Clough Engineering, Visy, and News Limited;
- Tobacco companies – Philip Morris (Nahan) and British American Tobacco 
- Oil and gas companies: Caltex, Esso Australia (a subsidiary of Exxon) and Shell [www.ips.org] and Woodside Petroleum; and fifteen major companies in the electricity industry; (Nahan 2)
- Forestry: Gunns, the largest logging company in Tasmania; (Nahan 3)
- Murray Irrigation Ltd – a major irrigation company contributed $40,000.