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ABC-Watch: Beyond fake headlines — 61% of company directors do not care about Climate Change

Fake News Lesson: How to turn the views of a minority into National Headlines

Yesterday’s ABC headline tells the world that Australian company directors have started to “care” about climate change. What the ABC don’t mention is that only 17% of them actually ticked the box saying they think the Government  should make “climate change” the top long term priority. While more directors were concerned about climate change than any other single issue, most directors thought other things were more important.

For every director who said the government should put climate change at number one, there were more than three who didn’t want that.

The Australian Institute of Directors surveys its 43,000 members every six months on lots of questions. In this round 1,252 members took part and answered something like 40 questions. Only 39% put “climate change” in the top five “long term” issues. So 61% of respondents didn’t think climate change even ranked in the top five issues facing the nation in the long run. Are they all skeptics?

The ABC also forgot to mention that in the short term, company directors wanted the government to fix Energy Policy.

This is what non-stop agitprop looks like

First: The loaded headline

Why Australian company directors have started caring about climate change

Nassim Khadem

Step 2: Frame this as a mass movement. Mention big numbers.

For the first time Australian company directors have nominated climate change as the number one issue they want the federal government to address in the long term, according to a survey of more than 1,200 company directors.

Step 3: Mention big numbers again. Then say the survey demonstrates something that was not even asked.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors’ (AICD) biannual Director Sentiment Index — based on a survey of 1,252 public and private company directors undertaken between September 13 and 27 — shows directors are heeding warnings from regulators about the risks of climate change and the fact that they may, in future, be held liable for failing to act.

It’s handy if you can spook other company directors into the impression that lots of other directors are afraid of being sued.

Step 4: Interview someone who has a conflict of interest and don’t mention the conflict.

Regulators including the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) are among those that have spoken out about the threats of climate change and the risks to companies.

Dr Katherine Woodthorpe, chairman of start-up Fishburners and who until recently was a non-executive director on the board at Sirtex Medical, said company directors were not just being influenced by regulator warnings, but also a push from investors to act.

The ABC apparently forgot to mention Dr Katherine Woodthorpe is Chairman, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. She’s also a Non-Exec Director of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, at least according to their website. Both of these groups get less funds if Australians think that weather control with wind turbines is worthless voodoo.

Imagine the outrage if Sky News interviewed the Chair of a coal plant and told you their former employment, but not their current one?

Given the amount of money poured into unreliable energy in this country it would be amazing if there weren’t 200 renewables directors or friends among the 43,000 members. Of those who answered questions — 3% work in the energy sector, 8% for a public sector/government body, and 34% for a non-profit entity.

Only 17% of directors said Climate was a top issue (for someone else to solve)

Directors could pick five issues, but 60% didn’t even put a number on “climate change”.

Australian Institute of Company Directors

Click to enlarge. (People could rate 5 things, so the percentages add up to a lot more than 100%)

The top short term issue needing care is Energy Policy

If it served the ABC’s purpose, they could have headlined the story “Company Directors think Government top issue is Energy Policy”.

Then they could have interviewed directors who were moving their plants to get away from nightmare electricity prices. The whole story would have had an opposite meaning. Such is the power of The Editor. Why do we give this power to unaccountable non-independent bureaucrats?


Australian Institute of Directors, Short Terms Issues Table, 2018

Click to enlarge.

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Thank you!

Hat tip to David B and George.


 Australian Institute of Company Directors Sentiment Index for the second half of 2018. Full 87 page PDF is available.

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