Australia academics blast UK lord over Hitler jibe

Jun 28, 2011
Dozens of Australian academics have signed a letter demanding a lecture by British climate sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton, pictured, be axed after he compared the country's climate adviser to Hitler.

Dozens of Australian academics signed a letter Tuesday demanding a lecture by British climate sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton be axed after he compared the country's climate adviser to Hitler.

The open letter calls on Australia's Notre Dame University to cancel a lecture by Monckton Thursday, saying he stood for "the kind of ignorance and superstition that universities have a duty to counter".

"In hosting this lecture, Notre Dame University is undermining the academic community," the letter, seen by AFP, said.

The letter, started by Natalie Latter, a PhD student examining global ethics and , has been penned as Monckton prepares to give a speech targeting the government's proposal for a carbon tax.

He is on a tour of Australia at the invitation of the " Sceptics" -- a political party registered ahead of last year's national elections .

The speech is entitled "A Will Bankrupt Australia".

The letter said Monckton's appearance was "betraying the integrity of our scientists and those who struggle to communicate the facts about climate change to the public.

"It is completely unacceptable for a university to be tacitly endorsing the views of an individual such as Lord Monckton. Our universities must have higher standards than this."

Monckton said last week during a speech in Los Angeles that Australia's top climate advisor, economist Ross Garnaut, held fascist views and expected people to "accept authority without question".

He then said "Heil Hitler, on we go" in a mock German accent while a swastika appeared on a screen by him.

at some of Australia's top universities have had to shift into high-security premises in recent months following death threats and harassment sparked by intense debate over the government's pollution tax.

The comments by Monckton, an outspoken former science adviser to former British PM Margaret Thatcher, reinforced the need for a stand against him, the letter added.

"We all support academic freedom and the freedom to express our ideas and beliefs," it said. "However, Notre Dame University has a responsibility to avoid promoting discredited views on an issue of public risk.

"Notre Dame's invitation to Lord Monckton makes a mockery of academic standards and the pursuit of evidence-based knowledge."

Monckton's remarks were also condemned by Prime Minister Julia Gillard as inappropriate and highly offensive, and opposition leader Tony Abbott rejected the comparison as "over the top".

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User comments : 4

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3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 28, 2011
"We all support...freedom to express...ideas and beliefs" but not if they disagree too strongly with our own. Theatrics aside, an opposing view point may be difficult to listen to, but suppressing it only narrows the mind. Seems to me that some have developed quite thin skins down under.

2 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2011
The very fact that these folks are trying to shut out Mockton from the debate over this issue is evidence enough that his theatrics are not unfounded.
Fascism is, essentially shutting down any opposition through government or institutional censure and censorship which is exactly what these folks are calling for.
This is becoming an increasing problem in science although it has been around since the beginnings of science. Tesla was sanctioned by government and attacked by Edison et al.
Science is more of a religion than anything else and if one speaks against the "dogmas and doctrines" one will be unmercilessly attacked.
In the medical area people die everyday as a result of not having all the therapeutic options available for healing such as cannabis oils, homeopathy etc.
1 / 5 (2) Jun 30, 2011
Stop your disrespect toward us scientists, dont you know we are the guardians of truth. When we reach consensus then the science is settled and you have no right to dissent. You must ensure that in future you restrain from having an alternative view or you might find yourself publicly vilified.
0.7 / 5 (47) Jul 05, 2011
You must ensure that in future you restrain from having an alternative view or you might find yourself publicly vilified.

And contrary to 'conservative' belief, this isn't a violation of free speech.

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