Federal education minister Christopher Pyne has given $4 million to Danish climate sceptic Bjørn Lomborg to set up the Australian Consensus Centre at the University of Western Australia.
Lomborg is a well-known climate policy sceptic and the director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, whose funding was cut by the Danish government in 2012.
He advises governments to spend money adapting to climate change, rather than preventing it, and cherry picks data to argue climate change is not as bad as expected.
Pyne said the centre will ”bring the Copenhagen Consensus Center methodology to Australia”.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) slammed the decision and called on Pyne to resign.
It says each year thousands of Australian researchers apply for competitive research grants through the Australian Research Council or the National Health and Medical Research Council with a success rate of only one in five.
NTEU national president Jeannie Rea said: “These researchers will understandably be furious that the Minister for Education has found a spare $4 million to establish a research centre that has not been required to go through any competitive process and seems to have arisen from discussions between UWA, the government and departmental officials.
“This money has been found despite the government’s plans to cut university funding by billions of dollars, including funding for higher degree research students, cuts to the Collaborative Research Centre funding, and threats to cut $150 million in funding for essential research infrastructure through NCRIS.
“This decision shows a complete and utter disdain for our system of peer review, competitive research funding and research quality assessment, and will ensure that no one who works in our higher education system has any confidence in the Minister. It is about time Pyne was removed from the education ministry.”