This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
The Waubra Foundation is a front or astroturf group created by Peter Mitchell on March 1, 2010 to oppose wind farming in Australia. It was registered with Business Affairs as an incorporated body on that date but later deregistered on July 13, 2011. Ref1 Ref2
The Waubra Foundation claims to be an independent organisation but it has direct links to the Australian Landscape Guardians, the Liberal Party of Australia and mining interests who in turn have inks with the right wing thinktank, Institute of Public Affairs, (IPA).
The Waubra Foundation does not exist in any physical sense, there is no building, just a post office box. The address, Box No.1136, South Melbourne, Victoria 3205, is shared by Sarah Laurie, the Australian Landscape Guardians and Lowell Resources, a mining investment company owned by Peter Mitchell.
Sarah Laurie, the Waubra Foundation's “medical director" and now CEO, promotes unfounded health concerns and an unrecognised condition called “Wind Turbine Syndrome", allegedly caused by wind farms despite her lack of any recognised, peer-reviewed evidence that could possibly support such claims. She has a medical degree but is not a practising doctor, has no medical research qualifications, nor does she have any recognised qualifications relating to acoustics or physics. She claims wind turbines can cause ill-health up to 10 km away but relies only on untested anecdotes and a poor understanding of the physics of sound. 
Sarah Laurie frequently references the work of Dr Nina Pierpoint who has published a book called “Wind Turbine Syndrome" even though she is unqualified in the field of acoustics and/or any health effects resulting from infra-sound. An accurate critique of Pierpoint's very unscientific claims can be found here.  Briefly, Pierpoint is relies on skewed data, an extremely small sample size, fails to use a control group for comparison, resorts to anecdotal evidence and has not had her work peer-reviewed.
The Australian Landscape Guardians profess concern for the landscape and amenity, yet they are consistently silent on issues such as coal seam gas developments, expansion of opencut coal mining, mineral and property development in sensitive areas. The Australian Landscape Guardians are well-known climate sceptics with links to the Liberal Party of Australia and the Institute of Public Affairs.
The Waubra Foundation's links with these other groups directly conflicts with the listed objectives of the foundation…
- No 12: At all times to establish and maintain complete independence from government, industry and advocacy groups, for or against wind turbines.
Despite claims of holding a balanced view on wind energy, not one member of the Waubra Foundation is pro-wind energy but all are known to vehemently oppose it. They all have direct or indirect links to any combination of the following, Conservative politicians, mining interests and assorted anti-wind Guardian groups. Several members are climate change denialists.
What's the real agenda of the Waubra Foundation?
|Name||Residence (Postcode)||Km from Waubra|
|Peter Mitchell||Portarlington (3223)||122|
|Sarah Laurie||Crystal Brook (5523)||668|
|Tony Hodgson||Mosman (2088)||793|
|Kathy Russell||Barwon Heads (3227)||127|
|Michael Wooldridge||Surrey Hills (3127)||141|
|Clive Tadgell||Malvern (3144)||135|
|Charlie Arnott||Boorowa (2586)||560|
|Alexandra Nicol||Canberra (2600)||550|
|Alby Schultz||Goulburn (2580)||625|
|Why are members of the Waubra Foundation not residents of Waubra?
Because the Waubra Foundation has nothing to do with concerns about any local wind farm, its members are pro-mining advocates, climate change denialists and have links with conservative politics and right wing think tanks. The Waubra Foundation is an anti-renewables, astroturf group.
Key identities associated with the Waubra Foundation:
- Peter Mitchell:Founder and chair of the Waubra Foundation, Founding chairman of Moonie Oil Company Limited, Chairman or a Director of related companies including Clyde Petroleum Plc, Avalon Energy Inc, North Flinders Mines Ltd, Paringa Mining & Exploration Plc (most now delisted on the ASX), Director of Lowell Resources Funds Management Ltd. Investment interests include gold, copper, rare earths, natural gas, uranium, iron ore and coal, Spokesman for the Western Plains Landscape Guardians.
- Sarah Laurie: A non-practising, unregistered doctor living in South Australia. According to her submission to the NSW inquiry she's now CEO of the Waubra Foundation. 
- Clive Tadgell: Retired judge. 
- Dr. Michael Wooldridge: The former Howard minister is also listed as a Director. 
- Kathy Russell: Director, is Vice-President of the Australian Landscape Guardians, Vice-President of the Victorian Landscape Guardians and spokesperson for the Western Plains, Mount Pollock Landscape Guardians and the Barrabool Hills Landscape Guardians. 
- Tony Hodgson: Helped fund the campaign against the Collector wind farm in New South Wales, also linked with the Booroowa Landscape Guardians. 
- Randall Bell: President of Victorian Landscape Guardians, climate change sceptic, conspiracy theorist.
- Paul Miskelly: Worked for Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.
- Alby Schultz: Retired Liberal Party of Australia politician
- Alexandra Nicol: A former Liberal Party of Australia staffer
- Charlie Arnott: Organic farmer and climate change skeptic
External Links - Media
- Dave Clarke, "Wind Turbines and Health," "ramblingsdc.net", 1 September, 2010
- Simon Chapman, "Wind turbine sickness prevented by money drug," "The Drum", 29 March 2011
- Sandi Keane, "The ugly Landscape of the Guardians," *"Independent Australia", 24 July, 2011
- Andrew Fowler, "Against the Wind," "Four Corners - ABC, "26 July, 2011
- Simon Chapman, "The web of vested interests behind the anti-wind farm lobby," "www.crikey.com.au," 13 October, 2011
- Derek Maitland, "Wind farm update: Who’s in bed with who?," "www.orangenewsnow.com.au", 20 December 2011
- Dan Cass, "Medical experts reject dodgy medical science claims of anti-wind lobby," "dancass.com," 24 January, 2012
- Sandi Keane, "Deception is our product," "Independent Australia", 7 February, 2012
- Sandi Keane, "Anti windfarm astroturfers exposed in Parliament," "Independent Australia", 17 February, 2012
- Sandi Keane, "The Landscape Guardians and the Waubra Foundation," "Independent Australia", 6 March, 2012
- Royce Millar and Adam Morton, "Against the wind," "The Age", 31 March, 2012
- Neil Barrett, "Getting the Wind up," "masg.org.au", 6 April, 2012
- Alex Sinnott, "Yambuk couple happy living with wind farms," "The Standard", 5 Apr, 2012
- Mike Barnard, "Wind Power: Is Dr. Nina Pierpoint's "Wind Turbine Syndrome" a real medical syndrome caused by wind turbines?," "www.quora.com", 4 May, 2012
- QDOS Survey, “Community perceptions of wind farms", “www.infigenenergy.com", May, 2012
- Mike Barnard, "Fourteen wind energy myths debunked," "reneweconomy.com.au", 19 June 2012
- Graham Readfearn, "Anti-wind farm Waubra Foundation infiltrates Government wind farm review," “www.independentaustralia.net", 4 September 2012
- Sandi Keane, "Waubra Fights The Anti-Wind Bullies," "newmatilda.com", 26 Sep 2012
- Mike Seccombe, "A Field Guide To The War On Wind Power", "www.theglobalmail.org", 4 October, 2012
- Simon Chapman, "The sickening truth about wind farm syndrome", "www.newscientist.com", 8 October 2012
- Simon Chapman, "There’s still no evidence that wind farms harm your health", "theconversation.edu.au", 2 November 2012
- Leigh Ewbank, "Anti-wind group goes against science in health scare campaign," "yes2renewables.org", 29 January, 2013
- Simon Chapman, "New study: wind turbine syndrome is spread by scaremongers," "theconversation.edu.au", 15 March 2013
- Fiona Crichton, "How the power of suggestion generates wind farm symptoms," "theconversation.edu.au", 15 March 2013
- Peter Collins, "Wind farm supporters blast anti-turbine blow-ins," "www.standard.net.au", 27 April 2013
- Ketan Joshi, "Bursting the bubble of anti-wind astroturfers," "www.businessspectator.com.au", 4 June 2013
- Lenore Taylor, "Windfarm industry fears consequences of Coalition turbine noise policy," "www.guardian.co.uk", 12 June 2013
- Simon Chapman, "Wind turbine syndrome: farm hosts tell very different story," "theconversation.com", 18 September 2013
- Sophie Vorrath, "Anti-wind circle unbroken: Taylor steps up, Schultz joins Waubra," "reneweconomy.com.au", 30 October 2013
- Leigh Ewbank, "Appointments show Waubra Foundation can't be trusted," "www.businessspectator.com.au", 1 November 2013