A once great institution. There once was a time when the CSIRO was a great scientific research organisation where clever people were encouraged not only to work away trying to discover exciting things but to spread the good word about their findings in ways that might educate the rest of us. That open-minded ethos, it seems, is no more. The CSIRO of today has been nobbled by a combination of the principles of user pays and outright fear of upsetting a government.

The latest example of official CSIRO timidity was reported this morning in The Canberra Times in a story revealing that a group of senior scientists working on climate change have been gagged from speaking out about Australia’s proposed greenhouse gas reduction targets. Fortunately the four scientists are made of sterner stuff than their bureaucratic superiors. Michael Raupach, John Church, Pep Canadell and James Risbey, the paper says, have broken ranks with CSIRO to make personal submissions to a Senate inquiry into the Rudd Government’s emissions trading scheme. They claim tougher targets are needed to avoid Australia being ”locked in” to dangerous climate change, and list 14 recent scientific findings that support their argument.

Showing his merits. That humble Liberal backbencher Peter Costello might not want a job in the official Opposition team but he is showing some potential as a political commentator. His column this morning in the Fairfax papers was a savagely humorous attack on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and backbench Labor MP Craig Thomson. We journalists did not escape unscathed either with some well deserved jabs for not having pursued with more vigour the story of the stewardess being reduced to tears by the Prime Ministerial temper tantrum.

A pretty little child.

If Michael Jackson’s taste is to your taste, I’m afraid you’ve missed your chance. There are several statues of small children from the King of Pop’s very own collection currently on public exhibition in downtown Beverley Hills but their auction next month, along with some 1400 bits and pieces from the Neverland Ranch, is off.

Michael Jackson, the auctioneer Julien’s of West Hollywood, California had assured us, was an enthusiastic and avid collector of everything from exquisite antiques to prized entertainment and popular culture memorabilia. Julien’s Auctions was “proud to present all these items and much more for sale to the public” in a once-in-a-lifetime auction from April 22 to 25.

But, alas for would be memorabilia collectors, Jackson field a lawsuit requesting the return of some items and while a judge ruled the auction could proceed agreement was reached overnight for the whole thing to be called off.

It’s time to book your next dose of Crikey.

Through the week, news comes at you fast. Every day there’s a new disaster, depressing numbers or a scandal to doom-scroll to. It’s exhausting, and not good for your health.

Book your next dose of Crikey to get on top of it all. Subscribe now and get your first 12 weeks for $12. And you’ll help us too, because every dollar we get helps us dig even deeper.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.