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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, most commonly referred to by its acronym CSIRO, was established in 1926 as an Australian government agency to undertake scientific research to assist primary or secondary industries in Australia.

Growing Commercialisation

The CSIRO has been criticised for a growing focus on making a profit, rather than on undertaking research. For example, in August 2006, the CSIRO has signed an agreement with Genetic Solutions, a Brisbane based-company, to become a shareholder in the company in exchange for its research into cattle genes. [1] The CSIRO has not traditionally held shares in companies.

In addition, much CSIRO research is now funded by private enterprise, which has raised questions about corporate influence on the CSIRO's previously independent research. For example, tn February 2007, the Canberra Times reported that "the CSIRO has confirmed coal industry bodies have the power to suppress a new report questioning the cost and efficiency of clean-coal carbon capture technologies because they partly funded the research". [2]


Until mid-July 2006, Donna Staunton was the Executive Director of Communications for CSIRO and is also a member of the Executive team. Staunton was previously a vice president of Phillip Morris, the chief executive of the Tobacco Institute of Australia, and sat on the board of conservative Australian think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). [3] The IPA has been a consistent critic of climate science, arguing that the link between increased greenhouse gas emissions and climate change has not been proven.

Case Studies


The CSIRO Board is responsible to the Australian Government for the overall strategy, governance and performance of CSIRO. But controversially, in February 2006, the Howard Government appointed two coal and energy industry executives - Eileen Doyle and Peter Willcox - to the board, leading to acusations that the CSIRO was becoming captured to by fossil fuel industry interests, thus compromising its independence. Australians Greens Senator Christine Milne was quoted as saying that "it is outrageous. The Australian public should be seriously concerned about the implication of these appointments for the independence, integrity and direction of CSIRO's research." [4]

Board Members

Contact details

CSIRO Enquiries
Bag 10
Clayton South, Victoria, Australia 3169
Toll free: 1300 363 400 (cost of a local call within Australia)
International: +61 3 9545 2176
Email: enquiries AT csiro.au
Fax: (03) 9545 2175
Web: http://www.csiro.au/

External links

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


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