23 February 2011 – Outgoing Chief Scientist Penny Sackett briefed former prime minister Kevin Rudd only once during his tenure and had never briefed current prime minister Julia Gillard, according to ABC reports of Professor Sackett’s testimony to the Senate Estimate hearings today.
The Greens today said Professor Sackett told Senate Estimates hearings that she had not been invited to contribute to any discussions of appropriate emissions reduction targets either before, during or after the Copenhagen climate conference. She also declined to say that she believed her advice to government had been “heeded”.
“Professor Sackett has been an outstanding and courageous Chief Scientist and the government would have done well to better heed her advice,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader Senator Christine Milne said.
“Professor Sackett repeated her advice today that the emission reduction commitments of governments around the world are ‘insufficient, even if acted upon’ to keep global warming to less than 2C.
“But the government did not even seek her advice on the critical scientific issue of how much and how fast we need to cut climate-changing emissions and did not invite her to attend or contribute to the Copenhagen climate conference.
“When I asked Professor Sackett if she felt her advice to government over the last two and a half years had been ‘heeded’, she carefully avoided the word and instead said she believed it had been ‘considered’ amongst other advice.
“Professor Sackett has clearly been professional to the last.”