Sunday, 14 April 2013

CSIR-Oh No! Your victims speak out.

Around a year ago, a team of ex-CSIRO people set up a blog site -

 Victims of Bullying, Harassment, and Victimisation in the CSIRO

The intention of this blog site is to provide a point of contact and information for current and former employees of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) who have experienced bullying, harassment, victimisation or other forms of anti-social behaviour as a result of their employment with CSIRO.
A report this week in the Australian gave a hint to the troubles at CSIRO:

Troubled Times As A National Icon Finds Itself Under The Microscope

Midway through last year, a loose alliance of disgruntled CSIRO ex-staff, including some of Australia's most prominent scientists, formed a website called and began publishing allegations against their former employer. 
The obscure blog was a low-key beginning to what has become a full-throated campaign in which some disgruntled scientists claim the independence and therefore credibility of Australia's peak scientific body is threatened by government and now industry interference. They also claim the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has largely jettisoned pure science and is a toxic workplace where bullying is rife and outrageous behaviour by some managers has been ignored. 
A parliamentary committee examining workplace bullying published the group's submission, which claimed there were 60 cases of top-flight scientists and others who were harassed and frozen out. The list included names such as Maarten Stapper, a soil scientist allegedly pushed out because of his criticism of genetically modified crops, globally recognised oceanographer Trevor McDougall, and award-winning entomologist Sylwester Chyb. The CSIRO, in an awkward position as it is a government agency, could not respond publicly to the allegations. (NCTCS blog emphasis)
The blog lists their complaints. (link) Their top two are:
  • Starting in 2002, concerns have been raised as to the development and growth of a management culture of bullying and intimidation at CSIRO. (link)
  • Scientists have been denied the free speech that is an inherent part of being a professional scientist.(Link)

The second point about free speech includes some startling reports. Under the heading: 

“A group of CSIRO senior climate scientists have defied a gag order by their organisation to speak out on Australia’s proposed greenhouse reduction targets"

we find that  four high-profile scientists Michael Raupach, John Church, Pep Canadell and James Risbey have broken ranks with CSIRO to make personal submissions to a Senate inquiry into the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme.
CSIRO scientists defy gag to attack Rudd's emissions plan
A CSIRO spokesman denied there was a gag on its scientists participating in the inquiry, and said the four were, "welcome to make comment as long as they are not representing CSIRO". 
All four CSIRO scientists are world leaders in their various areas of climate research. Dr Raupach co-chairs the Global Carbon project, which oversees international research on the global carbon cycle. Dr Church chairs the scientific committee for the Geneva-based World Climate Research Program, Dr Canadell is executive director of the Global Carbon project and Dr Risbey has been involved in global climate research for more than 20 years.
Amazingly, after this, the management of the CSIRO moved to stop scientists' licence to make comment as long as they are not representing CSIRO!"

CSIRO moves to put gag on scientists

THE CSIRO has sought to secretly close a loophole that allows scientists to publish research and comment in their private capacity about politically sensitive issues. 
Earlier this year, senior scientists used the loophole to give evidence to a Senate inquiry criticising the Rudd government's emissions targets. While the CSIRO has denied it has reviewed or changed its public comment policy, a confidential memo leaked to The Australian reveals the policy has been reviewed at the highest levels.
The kicker in this article:
Controversy over the new policy comes as Dr Clark today meets CSIRO economist Clive Spash to review a decision to gag his paper criticising emissions trading schemes. 
NCTCS blog has previously written of Clive Spash here, here and here.

Of course, we also presented the Youtube of Dr Art Raiche. (link includes youtube)

Dr Raiche talked of the days when the CSIRO was a world class organisation and worked for Australia, Agriculture and Industry.  Skip to 8mins into it for the best bits if you  haven’t got time, where he says:
The original Scientists of the CSIRO were the best of their day and the CSIRO was a non-Government organisation working with quality science and how useful it was to Australia. (research) 
In the 80′s, I noticed we were under increasing pressure to become more “Business like” and the doors were opened to “Management Consultation.”
Layer upon layer of management was created, some intersecting others.
You think that your tax dollars went towards research but a lot of it was devoted to letting them play their management games…. the CSIRO was sent to fancy business schools in the US and Europe and they didn’t learn one thing… 
Management learned how to bring the most senior climate scientist under their control. It was OK to think independently…as long as Management approved of it. 
We were given very strict, VERY strict guidelines on not publishing anything or publicly discussing any research that could be seen as critical to Government policy.If we did not do it, we would be subject to dismissal. 
We had now become a Government Enterprise. We were told by the Chairperson that we Scientists no longer worked for Australia, we had to learn that we worked for the CSIRO.
There is much more to learn from the Victims of CSIRO.


  1. I am an ex-employee of CSIRO, and it is the worst organisation I have ever worked in.
    I worked in the Marine & Atmospheric division and it is rife with nepotism, cronyism & favouritism. People are recruited & promoted without being suitably qualified.
    But, this is an evil necessity. CSIRO have become greedy, and need to hide their inadequacy & incompetence by bullying.

  2. I currently work for CSIRO, I worked there for a number of years without seeing any type of inappropriate behaviour until it came my way.
    It became the worst job in my 20 year employment history.
    Aggressive intimidating behaviour, altering quoted times after the job is finished, supplying false information about people's behaviour and truly unbelievable substantiated breaches of the code of conduct while senior management refuse to enforce their misconduct policy.
    Truly disgusting mistreatment of people.....and for those that think or say that can't happen ...well I have it in writing so bring it on.


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