Australian National University

By Clarissa Thorpe and Ben Atherton
11 May 2012

The Australian National University has released a series of abusive and threatening emails which were sent to its climate change scientists.

The 11 emails to members of the university's Climate Change Institute have been made public after a Freedom of Information request.

ANU management initially turned down the FOI request to release them, fearing it would lead to increased harassment.

But they have now been released with the names and email addresses removed after an intervention by the privacy commissioner.

One email, dated 2 June 2010, describes a threat to use a gun against an academic because a conference participant reportedly disagreed with the climate change research.

"Looks like we've had our first serious threat of physical violence," it says.

"It has come from a participant in [DELETED] deliberative democracy project last weekend. One of the participants left early after he too [sic] exception to my talk about climate science. [DELETED] exact words were: 'Moreover, before he left, he came to the Fri dinner and showed other participants his gun licence and explained to them how good a sniper he is'."

The email notes that "I will be notifying security in case he turns up and causes a problem" and says the university's head of security will be asked to determine whether the case should be referred to the Australian Federal Police.

It concludes: "But in the meantime, we should be careful about anyone we don't know who approaches our offices."

Another email, dated 24 May 2011, says: "How do you people sleep at night, you and that old idiot . They pay you thousands to feed us ordinary hard working normal folk bullshit. You come from well to do families who have never earned or done an honest days work in your life. You overpaid over educated parasite. Get a real job and pay your dues you leech." […]

ANU vice-chancellor Ian Young said the Climate Change Institute scientists were moved to more secure offices on campus in the wake of the threats. […]

FOI emails reveal threats to climate scientists

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