ALIA's Letter to the Editor was published in the Age on 26 October 2013. Click here to view it.
The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC, Herald Sun, the Guardian, and many other news outlets have reported on Environment Minister Greg Hunt's interview with the BBC in which he said about the increase of bushfires and their link to climate change, "I looked up what Wikipedia said just to see what the rest of the world thought. It opened up with the fact that, 'bushfires in Australia are frequently occurring events during the hotter months of the year due to Australia's mostly hot, dry climate.'"
ALIA has sent the letter below to the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian in response to the story and the email below that to politicians at State and Federal levels.
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ALIA has also created a printable poster.
Letter to the Editor
Environment Minister Greg Hunt ‘looked up’ Australian bushfires on Wikipedia and decided it was clear that there was no link between climate change and increased bushfire intensity (“Greg Hunt uses Wikipedia research to dismiss links between climate change and bushfires”, Oct 24).
It’s not surprising that the Minister has to resort to Wikipedia following the rampant cuts to federal, state and territory government department libraries. His own department library’s staff and budget were drastically reduced over a year ago.
Government libraries connect policy makers to the essential information they need to make decisions based on well researched facts. If the slashing of government libraries continues, we will see more politicians quoting Wikipedia and fewer using high quality scientifically proven facts when making life-changing decisions. Hopefully this gaffe will encourage the Minister to use his own specialist library and inspire other Ministers to ensure that their libraries are fully funded and resourced.
The Australian Library and Information Association
Email sent to Federal and State Politicians
[Hunt got his ‘facts’ from Wikipedia]
Our Members can help you avoid embarrassing headlines.
Make sure your facts come from the most reliable source: Government Department Libraries.