Senate Estimates tonight confirmed that Dr Bjorn Lomborg’s Australian Consensus Centre was a proposal initiated by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Officials told the Committee that:

  • The centre was funded in the 2014-2015 Budget but not made public for almost 12 months until it was announced by University of Western Australia (UWA) on 20 April 2015.

  • Discussions with UWA about hosting the Australian Consensus Centre commenced in August 2014.

  • Dr Lomborg was advised by the Department as to which universities he should consider approaching directly for his consensus centre.

  • The Department was unable to say when the Government had publically announced the $4.4 million for the Consensus Centre. This is despite the fact that the contract between the Department and UWA was signed on the 15 March 2015.

  • The Department confirmed that it has sought legal advice and is considering what action it might take against UWA for breach of contract. 

  • The Department and Minister’s office hold around 2,500 pages of documentation that relate to the establishment of the Consensus Centre and are resisting the release of these documents under FOI.

  • There was and is no competitive process to decide who will receive $4.4 million of public funding for the consensus centre, and nor was there any academic or peer review of the decision to establish or award funds for the centre.

    It is time for this Government to come clean about what discussions it has had with Dr Lomborg before it uses any public money to establish the Consensus Centre.  

    This is a Prime Minister who regards scarce research funding as a resource to engage in more disastrous captain's picks and prop up his pet projects.


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