Jennifer Marohasy Leaves the IPA

Jen Aug 04 040 blogMy second three-year contract with the Melbourne-based Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) ended with the financial year and is not being renewed.

I learnt a lot during the six years – especially early on with Andrew McIntyre teaching me how to write opinion (without reference to endnotes or footnotes) and Mike Nahan was always enthusiastic and supportive of my endeavours to understand the real state of the Murray River environment.

I had great hopes for the planned collaboration between the IPA and University of Queensland on evidence-based environmentalism but the University proved too timid and conservative – at least for me.

I have also left the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF) Executive. My five years with the organisation was always challenging and at times very rewarding. I gave the organisation a lot, and it is now time to move on. I am proud of my efforts in getting the petition and e-postcard website up and functioning. Every conference was also lots of work, but the speakers and delegates never disappointed. I wish Alex Stuart all the best as he takes over as Acting Chair.

I am going to have to find a new job, or perhaps start a small business (If anyone is interested in antique Asian pottery I have a collection for sale.). But I am giving myself some time while I ponder, to continuing writing my first work of fiction – a dystopian fiction based in a remote Indonesian fishing village. Ron Manners will be pleased to know that ‘The Art of Fiction’ by Ayn Rand is a source of reference and inspiration.

This blog will continue to provide an opportunity for me to share ideas including with those who never agree with me, discuss radical new theories and occasionally even break news. The plot in my dystopian fiction revolves around an environmental campaign that spins out of control. In an attempt to better understand motivations I started posting the series ‘Defining the Greens’. A reader (Larry) subsequently suggested I begin a series ‘Defining the Sceptics’ and this has proven as interesting.

I will continue to write my fortnightly column for The Land. This Thursday it’s on solar power.

This post is based on my most recent monthly email to those subscribed at my website. If you would like to receive monthly updates by email directly from Jennifer Marohasy subscribe here:

The picture shows Jennifer with Richard A. Epstein (immediate right) and Garry Johns (far right of picture) at an IPA – UQ function in Brisbane in August 2004.

44 Responses to Jennifer Marohasy Leaves the IPA

  1. hunter July 7, 2009 at 4:04 am #

    The IPA will be poorer for your absence. I truly wish you well. My bet is you will end up far ahead and able to make an even bigger impact in the future. Your demonstrated talent allows for no other outcome.
    Best regards to your future,

  2. James Mayeau July 7, 2009 at 4:11 am #

    wow. Jen I wish I could give you a hug. Sounds like you need one.
    hey Now that you are free, you can take charters of Yanks out on snorkling runs. For your next job I mean. Reef diving and whatnot.
    Just as long as you keep count of the passengers. I saw that movie “open water”. Chilling.
    Bleh, I got nothin.

  3. Graeme Bird July 7, 2009 at 6:57 am #

    Wow. You are interested in a science job though aren’t you Doctor Marohasy? Writing fiction. Well thats all good stuff. But its hard to imagine you not being a scientist.

  4. david elder July 7, 2009 at 8:00 am #

    Best wishes Jen, it’s been fun both agreeing and disagreeing with you! Hope you land on your feet. Do keep the blog going – Sod & co. will be lost without it.

  5. Warwick Hughes July 7, 2009 at 8:11 am #

    My experience Jen is that while doors close – other doors also open.
    But looking at the bigger picture – how can we get you into the Senate ?

  6. Arnost July 7, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    Now that’s a good idea Warwick… Jen?

  7. DMS July 7, 2009 at 8:41 am #


    she’d get my vote; I struggled last federal election and voted in the Senate for one of the majors as a “least worst” option.


    al the best in your next endeavours; of course many will still come here to continue to be informed and stimulated and look forward to seeing what your next phase looks like.

  8. Graeme Bird July 7, 2009 at 8:47 am #

    Or just an MP. Question-time not a bad place for a backbencher to be doing re-writes of a novel. That would double the number of parliamentarians that can get their head around policy questions with a science focus. The other being Dr Dennis Jensen.

    Plus the situation is economically far more dire then any consensus of climate rationalists would think. The real threat to the environment being environmentalists. All our energy production being in a state of disrepair. The cap-and-kill set to do vastly disproportionate damage to whatever the size of the racket turns out to be. The American dollar about to collapse. It won’t be pretty. And then there is the retirement benefits. Surely enough cash-flow right there to begin any small business startup of your choosing.

  9. Nick Stokes July 7, 2009 at 8:55 am #

    I’m sorry to hear that. The IPA will be much diminished without you. I hope things work out well for you. You’ve been a very good blog manager – I hope you do keep it up.

  10. Patrick B July 7, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    Any chance of getting the rest of the IPA to retire? I heard John Roskam on the radio yesterday. What an ideological loon. Good luck anyway, best to stay away from A. Rand though, her command of prose fiction was minimal.

  11. Ian Mott July 7, 2009 at 10:04 am #

    The moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on to write fiction. So go for it, Jen, no guts no glory. Make the best sellers list, hang onto the movie rights and maybe even get a Nobel Prize. After all, Al Gore got his gong for a work of fiction. And Penny Wong’s head holds nothing but fiction.

  12. Patrick B July 7, 2009 at 10:04 am #

    Thought I’d provide some examples of “Crazy” John Roskums work (remember he’s executive director of the IPA).

    The upshot of this rant appears to be that we were all completely wrong to kick out Howard on the basis that Workchoices grossly distorted the labour market. “Crazy” John appears to be really annoyed that no-one can see it his way. To demonstrate his intellectual keenness he attempts to draw an analogy between the ACTUs anti-Workchoices campaign and “Utegate”??.

    Actually if you have a look at his bio it looks like the man hasn’t been outside the senior ranks of the Liberal party or the IPA in his entire life. That means he hasn’t actually worked in the real world. I can understand anyone wanting to distance themselves from this type of foolishness particularly if they have academic aspirations. I mean a reference from “Crazy” John would be a career killer.

    Don’t mind me, just filling up space.

  13. barney July 7, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    If you’re interested in dystopian fiction you should look at the master: John Brunner, and particularly the ecological dystopia featured in THE SHEEP LOOK UP.

  14. PeterB July 7, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    Best wishes Jen

    I’ll look forward to reading your Solar Power article in The Land.

  15. Ron Pike July 7, 2009 at 10:51 am #

    Hi Jennifer,
    All the best in your new career direction and thanks again for the opportunity to discuss matters that this site provides.
    What ever you do keep up the scepticism on all matters environmental.
    Thanks for the help with the MDB articles.
    As a thought for the new career direction I am adding a poem for you.

    All growth is a spontaneous leap in the dark;
    An unpremediated act, sometimes for a lark.
    Fearlessly let intuition be your guide.
    Develop the strength to swim ‘gainst the tide.
    Be not subdued by others verbal abuse.
    Skeptical searching is the path to being wise.
    Mind always open and so to your eyes,
    To history and science and so to subsume,
    The nurturing of thoughts and never assume,
    Those personal beliefs are so sacrosanct;
    That wisdom and truth are somehow outranked.

    You can replace “others” with Luke’s, if you wish.
    Good luck with what ever you do.

  16. Jan Pompe July 7, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    Best wishes Jen,

    I’m sure that you’ll land on your feet, so enjoy the break.

  17. Green Davey July 7, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    Best of Luck Jennifer,
    I suspect that writing fiction, with a sound science background, is potentially more effective than dealing in scientific nit picking. We humans are not as logical as we like to think, and if we ever become entirely logical, we will no longer be human. I also like the political idea – hope to see you in the senate some time. One thing you could do would be to decriminalize the use of landscape fire, so helping us along the road to Australian ecological sanity.

  18. janama July 7, 2009 at 11:25 am #

    Good luck in your new venture Jen, I’m sure you have one.

    “Life is just what happens to you,
    While your busy making other plans.”

    Beautiful Boy
    John Lennon.

  19. Larry July 7, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    Isaac Asimov’s scientific background (biochemistry) served him well in his fiction and nonfiction writing.

    As a fiction writer, George Orwell had an impact that most political activists can only dream about. I’ll bet that you can too. Best wishes.

  20. Tim Curtin July 7, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    Jen, we and the IPA are all worse off without you there. But why not write a book encompassing the fictions of the Lukes, SJts et al and the admirable science of your good self along with that of contributors like Mike Hammer? Plimer shows that can sell as well as if not better than the average potboiler unless you can emulate JK Rowling. Each of your biggest threads would make a decent chapter after your editing. All best.

  21. Graeme Bird July 7, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    I actually think you’ve been traumatised out of work by heartless taxeater abuse. Hence I think you ought to start a new business suing these people and getting them all fired. The Blue Mountains is a good start. But you can trade up.

    Do it for your country. Your country needs your help.

  22. Rick Beikoff July 7, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    It worked for Michael Crichton.

    How would John Galt deal with Luke?

    All the best, but I’m sure you’ll be around to see the end of this – by Christmas, in my opinion.

    I like the sound of Senator Marohasy too.


    Rick Beikoff

  23. Louis Hissink July 7, 2009 at 2:40 pm #


    All the best for your next adventure – and as Warwick wrote, doors close only for others to open 🙂

  24. Paul Biggs July 7, 2009 at 4:28 pm #

    Jen could combine fiction and science by helping to write climate reports for the Australian Govt or the IPCC.

  25. Graeme Bird July 7, 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    Thats purely a fictional undertaking.

  26. Larry July 7, 2009 at 6:52 pm #

    Jennifer wrote:
    “The plot in my dystopian fiction revolves around an environmental campaign that spins out of control.”

    The thinking people on this board have pretty clearly established that certain Environmentalist beliefs are part and parcel of a thinly veiled secular religion. Perhaps we can brainstorm on the details of a fictional carbon-free afterlife that may await the faithful. Of course, Jennifer is under no obligation to use any of our cwazy ideas. But it could be fun anyway.

    And please, something more imaginative and less sexist than 72 virgins in Paradise for the male True Believers. That one’s already been taken.

  27. cohenite July 7, 2009 at 8:03 pm #

    “The plot in my dystopian fiction revolves around an environmental campaign that spins out of control.”

    Sounds like a synopsis for the AGW campaign, but what would I know?

    Good luck in your future endeavours which I hope include a continuation of this fine website.

    BTW you are clearly the most photogenic of the IPA executive.

  28. Louis Hissink July 7, 2009 at 8:21 pm #


    I don’t think it’s spinning out of control – the spin might be, but the relentless implementation of it continues behind the scenes.

    I’ve recently had to start dealing with government imposed Occupational, Safety and Health regulations, as well as Resources Safety issues, and the obvious changes are the clothing of the workers, (formerly blue collars) in gaudy and glary “visual clothing”. Problem is that when everyone wears these, the visual effect becomes zero.

    This detailed enforcement on what we wear at work, do at work seems to have accelerated when Kevin Rudd was elevated beyond his capabilities.

    Mind you the OSH regulations are routinely observed in their breach, rather than to the letter, though I was somewhat surprised that an office lady automatically donned fluro vest and hard hat to check on a steel order when another contractor marched into the same area without hard hat or fluro vest.

    Hence I have a renewed appreciation of the phrase “lumpen proletariat” and this is hardly surprising given the brain-raping our young people are subject to in the school system here. They are, indeed, much like sheep, so the cliches are apt, but how come some of them end up in political power?

  29. cohenite July 7, 2009 at 8:33 pm #

    “but how come some of them end up in political power?”

    Louis, I would say MOST of those who end up in political power are fairly lumpen with just a few narcissicists and sociopaths to dominate proceedings [and a very few reasonable exceptions]; we are only spared by the checks and balances which pit them against each other.

  30. Louis Hissink July 7, 2009 at 8:34 pm #

    In addition, Kevin Rudd was promoted to his natural role as “Dictator” or “leader” or “Fuhrer”.

    Incidentally “Fuehrer” is German for leader, but the Apple-Mac based dictionary defines it as “noun
    a ruthless, tyrannical leader.”

    I suspect the Germans might disagree with this definition by non Germans.

  31. bazza July 7, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    well Jen, never mind, hang in there or somewhere. Maybe the IPA gave up on your rearguard trying to turn the tide when they chanced across this weeks New Scientist “Its worse than we thought – what you need to know about sea level rise”. But you will be safe for a while in the Blue Mountains.
    For the future , why not enjoy something completely different; some honest toil – forget the fiction and get into some serious peer reviewed contributions ( beyond The Land). As Huxley said – he was too much of a sceptic to deny the possibility of anything.

  32. Louis Hissink July 7, 2009 at 8:47 pm #


    As a former branch secretary of the Liberal Party, your conclusion is supported factually, but when the political system has been swamped by the Fabians, whether in the public service or politics, with clear exceptions, there is little we can do but to step aside and let, to use an Effrican Phrase, let the bastards have their day.

    Luke and his Lumpens might think that they have won the argument, but in their lumpen way, can’t see beyond the fog of their dogma. The tragedy lies in the fact that it was the industrial revolution in England, allied with it’s revolution if philosophy, that allowed such middle class miscreants as Marx and Engels, followed by the Bloomsberries (Keynes and his set) to affect public policy. Socialism was never a production of the lumpens but a trivial diversion of the unemployable middle classes which, educated in what to think, never learnt how.

  33. jennifer July 7, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    Thanks everyone. And especially that hug from James.

  34. Sid Reynolds July 7, 2009 at 9:23 pm #

    Very, very best wishes Jen. I know we will keep enjoying your input to promote truth in science.

  35. Hasbeen July 8, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    This announcement quite spoiled my day.

    Good luck with it all, & let us know when to buy the first book.

  36. cinders July 8, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    Perhaps Jennifer can revisit Tasmania, and look afresh at our forests, as she recharges and seeks new inspiration.

    She might consider our sustainably managed forests available for timber production and the massive wilderness/ old growth forests reserves. Even if sceptical about the relationship of human caused CO2 emissions and global climate, she could examine the amazing technology Tasmania has implemented for large-scale carbon capture and storage.

    It’s a real solution that already delivers mitigation – 23% decrease in State GHG from Kyoto baseline year.

    This technology is available throughout the world without complex technology transfer. It is proven and simple. It involves ultraviolet, visible radiation and molecular reaction.

    Chemists know it as: 6 CO2 + 6 H2O + solar energy, the rest of us know it as Photosynthesis.

    It is the process that grows our forests, for each tonne of wood produced by a tree; about 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide are removed from the atmosphere with the added bonus that when you make something from a tree, carbon sequestered in forests is stored in the products we use every day.

    The Climate Institute was created in 2005 by a $10 million grant from the estate of one of the Murdoch clan to lobby government and to run a public awareness campaign for five years to ‘combat’ climate change.

    Perhaps Jennifer, could lead a new environmental institute that is a non-partisan, independent research organisation that works with community, business and government to drive innovative and effective environmental solutions. An institute that will research, educate and communicate.

    This may be better than a partnership with a University, just look at the compromise to the ANU’s reputation with its Wild Country Hub partnership with the Wilderness Society.

    Congratulations for your achievements with the IPA and the AEF, and in providing this blog!

  37. spangled drongo July 8, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    Thank you so much for all your past and on going tremendous effort.
    All the best for the future and I hope that we can remain part of it.

  38. Graeme Bird July 8, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    “Even if sceptical about the relationship of human caused CO2 emissions and global climate, she could examine the amazing technology Tasmania has implemented for large-scale carbon capture and storage.”

    What for? For what purpose would you want large-scale carbon capture and storage?



    Is it TREES? you are talking about? I mean I kind of like trees but one should appreciate trees for being trees. Not for being some sort of pointless exercise in leftist-appeasement and unscience-accommodation.

    And what makes you think that Dr Marohasy has something to learn by getting around looking at trees? Something to learn that you know but most of us don’t? The Doctor has likely been around trees most of her young life? What is the lesson to be learnt out there in Tasmania that you yourself have learned so much better than the rest of us?

    Global warming is a racket. Trees can be a good thing but IF they are a good thing, in some cases….. This is quite independent of their alleged carbon capture and storage role. This is because carbon capture and storage is an entirely worthless undertaking.

  39. cinders July 8, 2009 at 7:36 pm #

    Graeme Bird, it is not just trees, its forests, renewable timber products, biomass energy and carbon storage in our homes, our newspapers, filing systems and libraries. It’s the fine furniture we sit on, the tables we dine on and the musical instruments we enjoy.

    According to official Department of Climate Change figures
    Tasmania has led the nation in reducing its carbon foot print from 11.1 million tonnes of GHG to only 8.5 million. A gigantic 23% reduction, such a reduction is more than the likely achievement of the massively expensive Emission Trading scheme.

    This result has been achieved by the forest sector, valueing the forest, harvesting and processing timber, by regenerating the forest after harvest and planting new forests. Such activities have been strenuously opposed by the political green movement, by protest, legal action and political stunts. They have campaigned against the Tasmania’s forest agreement despite it locking up a million hectares of old growth forest which they claim hold over 2,000 million tonnes of carbon and against the approved pulp mill that will save the emission of over 1 million tonnes of GHG each year.

    I don’t expect Jennifer to learn these facts, as a quick look on her blog, she is already fully aware of them; such solutions to perceived environmental problems (that are opposed by the greens) need to be subject to public discussion. Growing trees provide a cost effective alternative to the $ cost of an ETS and provides jobs, economic wealth as well as habitat and intrinsic forest values.

    It is amazing to me that faced with this “crisis”, whether real or imaginary (pointless exercise in leftist-appeasement and unscience-accommodation) the Australian green political movement could be so out of step with the International environment thinking.

    After all it was the IPCC who published:
    “In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit”

    Even if carbon capture is ‘pointless’, using photosynthesis will be the cheapest method of capture and storage.

  40. Graeme Bird July 8, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    “Even if carbon capture is ‘pointless’, using photosynthesis will be the cheapest method of capture and storage.”

    No no. Its a mindless idiotic goal. Not growing trees. Thats not necessarily mindless and idiotic. But growing trees with the motivation of carbon capture and storage. There may be a need to grow trees in some instances. There is no need for carbon capture and storage.

    Its the carbon capture and storage that is the idiotic motive here. Don’t be quoting the UN on this matter. They are idiots and liars.

    If you have some evidence that any of this idiocy has legs scientifically either show up with it or admit you are wrong.

    Its 2009. We don’t have time for this idiocy any more. Its not funny anymore.

  41. Roger July 9, 2009 at 7:00 pm #

    Jen for the Senate
    How do we do it?

  42. David July 9, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    I knew it – you have changed your mind about whether Climate Change is caused by Man’s activities. As I told you in my earlier response (which you eventually deleted). Maybe the people in the IPA realised about the same time as I did that you were “not one of them”.
    However, you have not had the opportunity to come clean about it, yet. I guess, in part, because you are afraid of the vociferous response you will get from your former colleagues.
    At least you have now acknowledged how crazy those people are who run the Denialist lobby, in Aus and elsewhere.
    Good luck!

  43. Graeme Bird July 10, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    That was my diagnosis too. It looks like the IPA doesn’t want scientists on their staff any more. Perhaps they want faux-libertarian carbon tax advocates and blood-sucker-centrals loyal opposition. But they don’t want scientists.

    This is all an immense embarrassment to the IPA. They have diminished themselves. We have to come down on the menace of government splurging on excessive consultancy fees. What is the point of all these reports if not to rig policy to their liking? If the politicians want to know something why not just buy a book?

  44. jay alt July 19, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    good luck finding more useful work.

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