It's OK to link climate denial to pedophilia, ABC tells ex-chairman Maurice Newman
A COMPLAINT by former ABC chairman Maurice Newman over a radio program that linked scepticism about human-induced climate change to advocacy of pedophilia has been dismissed by the national broadcaster.
Mr Newman, who retired from the ABC's top job in March when his five-year term ended, said the broadcaster had been "captured" by a "small but powerful" group of people when it came to climate change groupthink - a claim rebuffed by the broadcaster.
He said comments by the network's science reporter Robyn Williams in a November 24 broadcast of The Science Show were indicative of a broader failure of the "public interest" test at the taxpayer-funded ABC.
"What if I told you that pedophilia is good for children, or that smoking crack is a normal part and a healthy one of teenage life, to be encouraged?" Williams said at the top of the show, which was dedicated to discussing attitudes on climate change.
"You'd rightly find it outrageous. But there have been similar statements coming out of inexpert mouths again and again in recent times, distorting the science."
In his written complaint to ABC managing director Mark Scott, Mr Newman raised the issue of personally "offensive and defamatory" material and content that compared climate sceptics to pedophiles "more generally".
The radio segment had also referred to an article that Mr Newman had written in The Australian last month comparing climate change believers to the religious. Mr Williams referred to it as "drivel" and his guest, psychology professor Stephen Lewandosky, said that those who denied climate change were "driven by ideology rather than evidence".
Mr Newman objected to the imputation that he was a flat-earther.
"Speaking up publicly is not the sort of thing you do lightly," he told The Australian yesterday.
"I still have a deep affection for the ABC but at some point someone has got to make a stand. The ABC is not being frank and open about the way global warming is portrayed on its various platforms, although the sense of imbalance is becoming more overt, I feel."
Mr Newman said he was the first person to admit he was not a scientist and described himself as a human-induced climate change "agnostic". "I considered the report to be defamatory because it went on to discuss me personally and an opinion piece I'd written comparing some in the climate change camp to religious believers," he said. "In lumping me in with despicable flat-earthers, they also, through their introduction, likened people like us to pedophiles and drug-pushers."