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John Church’s treatment is emblematic of CSIRO fiasco

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 15 May 2016

Greens Senator for Tasmania, and Chair of recent Senate Inquiry into CSIRO budget cuts, offers the following comments on redundancy notice issued to renowned sea-level rise scientist John Church while at sea south of Hobart on the RV Investigator.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “John Church is a giant of sea-level rise research and to treat him in this way is abominable, there is a real palpable anger in Tasmania's science community following this decision.

“John won the CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement in 2006 and was feted by CSIRO as one of Australia’s leading lights and yet CSIRO management thought it was reasonable to issue the redundancy via a phone call to the RV Investigator while far into the Southern Ocean.

“This decision shows that CSIRO is not interested in continuing with sea-level rise research and blows a hole in any argument that they are looking to invest more into climate adaptation work.

“John is currently undertaking critical research on the RV Investigator at this moment, involving multi-year, multi-partner collaboration. Will anyone be left to continue this work? CSIRO’s decisions are unravelling the global climate science research effort.

“John was courageous enough to speak out against the CSIRO cuts in the Senate Inquiry I convened and I hope this was not a factor in CSIRO’s decision.

“Scientists should always be able to speak out on the importance of their research and the timing of this CSIRO decision may lead scientist’s to question their ability to enter into important public debate,” he concluded.

When John spoke at the Senate Inquiry he said that he expected not to be kept at CSIRO for much longer.

John Church said, “Personally, I do not expect to be working in this organisation in more than a few months”.

I expect to be one of those people who will be made redundant. I do not know that but that is my expectation.”

Link to John Church's Senate appearance here.

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