My thoughts on potential job losses at CSIRO

In light of the recent news about the potential loss of jobs in the Oceans and Atmosphere and Land and Water divisions of CSIRO, I thought I should repost these videos I made several years ago. At that point, I was working as part of a national network called Ozflux.

It was an incredibly rewarding experience and one that I’ve regretted having to move from ever since. Many of my mentors came from this division of CSIRO and it’s them who come to mind now.

I only hope that enough people recognise the immense value CSIRO is to Australia and that whatever changes are deemed necessary do not negatively impact CSIRO’s role in improving the lives of Australians as well as our understanding of this unique and wonderful landscape.


One thought on “My thoughts on potential job losses at CSIRO

  1. Goodbye research, hello innovation.
    Yesterday on the AIM network Dr Anthony Horton needed to remind us of The Effects of Global Warming 101 -4: the spread of tropical diseases. The inevitable spread of tropical diseases and their vectors to higher latitudes is but one of a multitude of cascading catastrophes due to global warming. A fully functioning CSIRO devoted to continuous research and predictive Australian climate modelling is an absolute pre-requisite for any effective action on mitigating the pernicious effects of global warming.

    But Australians are slow learners its seems. When it comes to climate change there’s no slower learner than the Chief executive of the CSIRO, Dr Garry Marshall.

    The February 4th ABC 7-30 interview with this one-time Silicone Valley entrepreneur, bordered on farce. The government appointed salesman looked like a spiv, pitching slicker than a wet cane toad and spinning faster than a top politician.

    ‘We can’t do everything’ CSIRO chief executive explains a shift in their focus,” was the headline.

    In the event the man explained nothing but his intent was clear; a hatchet job on behalf of a corporatist government. Marshall is engaged in nothing less than continuing the wholesale sabotage of climate change research in this country, starting with clearing out the most talented and knowledgeable people in the field.

    Presenter: Leigh Sales,
    “CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall says that the organisation is changing their shift because they cannot maintain researching how the climate is changing and finding the solution to the impacts. The national research organisation will now focus on delivering outcomes to the impact of climate change.

    Climate scientists as well as Australia’s former Chief Scientist are outraged by the CSIRO’s decision today to downsize its Oceans and Atmosphere division, one of the nation’s leading centres for climate change monitoring. The move is part of a major restructure of the CSIRO. The Federal Government cut the CSIRO’s budget in 2014 by about $100 million, although the Prime Minister’s recently injected some new cash to help promote commercial science ventures. ”

    Read the full transcript to get the full stupid transparent banality of the government’s pitch to the Australian public.

    Dr Marshall is having us on. He personifies s the triumph of image over substance. He is strangely at pains to distinguish Innovation from invention then he conflates them. He wants to take honest verbs such as “research” and “invent” out of the laboratory and replace them with abstract nouns like “innovation” and “outcomes”.

    This flimflam man waves the debased buzz word “innovation” around like a magic wand yet explains nothing. He reduces a once great scientific organisation to a handmaiden of corporations too lazy or too narrowly focused to do their own R&D. He conjures as yet uninvented innovations as future money making solutions to diabolical problems that his gutted organisation will be unable to analyse, predict or assess. Does this corporate stooge think Australians are so stupid that they will actually take his double-speaking gobbledegook seriously?

    Blind Freddy could see we need more effort in monitoring climate variables as more planet-wide systems are destabilised by global warming. As an island continent in the Southern Hemisphere Australia is particularly vulnerable to inevitable changes such as the spread of new diseases to humans, livestock and plants. CSIRO needs all hands on deck!

    The political appointment of Dr Marshall to head CSIRO was a victory for wilful ignorance and a national disaster.

    It is vital to keep CSIRO’s focus on basic research. analysis and prediction. We need to know how the climate is changing in Australia and it’s regions. We need to know what is changing, why it’s happening, how it is likely to affect us, how much change to expect, where to expect changes, when to expect changes, who is going to be affected, how they are likely to be affected, how can we plan for change, how can we mitigate the consequences of our own stupidity.

    According to Dr Marshall that’s all been done and dusted, There’s nothing more to see there, we don’t even need to keep up the research effort, but look over their. Over there is where you might glimpse a vision of all the new shiny innovative thingies we’re going to sell once we’ve innovated them.

    We need to understand the whole range of what, why, where, when, who and how of climate change. Our failure to do this will have dire consequences. The CSIRO is supposed to be Australia’s premier scientific organisation in obtaining the answers to these questions for the benefit of all Australians, and the wider world.


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