Roy Morgan polling chief Gary Morgan has defended his firm over a decision to host a speech by fervent climate change skeptic Christopher Monckton next month, as controversy continues to swirl ahead over the ex-Margaret Thatcher adviser’s use of the Nazi swastika.
As part of his travelling East Coast roadshow sponsored by the fringe Climate Sceptics Party, “Lord” Monckton will give a $60-a-head speech at Morgan’s 401 Collins Street premises on July 19, hosted by Des Moore from the conservative Institute for Private Enterprise.
The title of the address is “the science is not settled”, despite a broad international scientific consensus suggesting exactly that. It could raise allegations that Morgan might be compromising his firm’s integrity by wading into an emotionally charged debate pockmarked by the spectre of Hitler.
The colourful pollster, who has in the past launched multiple bids for Melbourne Lord Mayor, confirmed to Crikey this morning that he had rented out his conference room to the IPE for the extravaganza.
He said the deal was done well before this week’s shenanigans in which Tony Abbott has been forced to defend his participation alongside Monckton at an Association of Mining and Exploration Companies get-together in Perth, following the emergence of video of Monkton branding Ross Garnaut a fascist and trumpeting “heil Hitler” in a German accent.
While Morgan said he did not personally endorse Monckton’s comments, he wouldn’t be bowing to pressure to cancel the speech.
“I’m aware of some of some of the things he’s said…I agree with some of the skeptics on the climate change, but that’s my personal opinion nothing to do with someone booking my conference centre,” said Morgan.
“If someone in favour of climate change would like to book my conference centre they’d be very welcome to come here,” suggesting he would be equally open to hosting a speech by Greens leader Bob Brown that could be “webcast by Crikey“.
Morgan confirmed to Crikey that he was sceptical of some of the climate change science and questioned whether carbon dioxide could be accurately measured, drawing a parallel with the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ estimates of federal unemployment.
“I don’t know how can you accurately measure the amount of carbon dioxide in water billions of years ago. That’s the issue, how do you accurately measure, the government can’t measure unemployment accurately. They can’t measure employment properly… they tell us that [re carbon] in parts per million it’s changed by 100 parts per million. It’s a nonsense.”
Morgan has an interest in the resources sector as chairman of gold miner Haoma, which owns tenements in the WA Pilbara and at Ravenswood in Queensland.
A recent Roy Morgan survey of the public’s perception of public opinion pollsters showed that just 23% of the population rate the profession highly, down 6% on the previous survey.
Monckton has used the Hitler analogy in the past, invoking Godwin’s Law to brand other participants at the 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference as “Hitler Youth” after they apparently interrupted a private meeting. However, in politer circles it is generally thought that the first person to invoke the Nazis loses the debate.