Australia academics blast UK lord over Hitler jibe

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 13:32

Canberra: Dozens of Australian academics signed a letter on 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 on 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 said.

The letter, started by Natalie Latter, a PhD student examining global ethics and climate change, 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 "Climate Sceptics" -- a political party registered ahead of last year`s national elections.

The speech is entitled "A Carbon Tax 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.

Climate scientists 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".

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 13:32

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