Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Goods and Services Tax - TAKE NOTE OF ANSWERS

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (15:24): If Senator Singh and other members of the Labor Party and the Greens political party were interested in this subject seriously, I could urge them to have a look at the letter written by Dr Larry Marshall to his colleagues in CSIRO. First of all, I re-emphasise that CSIRO is an independent agency and the decision made was an operational decision by CSIRO. Senator Singh, you would do well to read that letter. It is four pages. Perhaps it might test your concentration, but it really explains the position and explains exactly what Dr Marshall was talking about. I will just give you one quote from this letter—Senator Singh, if you were interested in this you would have stayed and listened to it—and it says this:

CSIRO pioneered climate research, the same way we saved the cotton and wool industries for our nation. But we cannot rest on our laurels as that is the path to mediocrity. Our climate models are amongst the best in the world, and our measurement honed these models to prove global climate change. That question has been answered, and the new question is what do we do about it, and how can we find solutions for the climate we will be living with?

I have to say that is the approach that the late Professor Bob Carter, who was pilloried high and low by the Labor Party and the Greens political party. That is the view Professor Carter has been espousing for a long time. He and I have always said, 'Of course the climate is changing.' As I often say—giving an extreme example—once upon a time Australia was covered in snow. It is not now, so clearly the climate has changed since aeons ago. What the CSIRO are now doing is saying, 'Right, we accept the climate has changed.' CSIRO scientists did a lot of work on this. And, as he says, their models are amongst the best in the world.' But he said, 'We've got to move on now. We've got to accept the climate is changing.' And I have always accepted that. What we have to do is to say, 'What do we do about it now that we know it's changing?' As Senator Brandis said in his answer, we now have to look at mitigation and adaptation research.

The letter from Dr Marshall to his colleagues in the CSIRO goes through that very carefully and it is instructive. I would urge everyone to have a look at this letter. I think it is a public letter now. He goes on to say, 'Our investment in precision agriculture combines unique sensors with predictive analytics to help our farming community respond to climate change and to grow their prosperity.' He further goes on to talk about the Great Barrier Reef being at risk. But we do not need to prove that the climate is changing anymore. What we need to do, and what CSIRO are going to do, is to actually do something about it and to divert their very outstanding research capabilities to finding out what we can do about a climate which we have all known has for centuries been changing. That is what is happening at CSIRO. There will not be any job losses. The Labor Party can keep saying that for as long as they like, but it is typical of the Labor Party and the Greens just making up any lie to support their argument.

Here are the facts from the guy. Read the letter from the guy who actually runs the CSIRO and who is doing the rearrangement. He says, 'There won't be any job losses at CSIRO.' What he is doing is diverting researchers from a science where there were too many people all around the world living in their universities getting research grants to prove something we all know, and he is going to divert that to other scientists and researchers and professionals who are actually going to do something about it to tell us how we can adapt and respond to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

I agree with the late Professor Bob Carter. That is what we should have been doing years ago. That is what Professor Carter had been calling to do, and I am pleased to see even a few weeks after his death that now the CSIRO are actually taking that advice and looking towards that new research— (Time expired)

Back to List