St Patrick's College defends Monckton decision

By Fiona Henderson
Updated November 2 2012 - 5:59am, first published July 8 2011 - 3:28am
St Patrick's College defends Monckton decision

ST PATRICK’S College has distanced itself from controversial climate change sceptic Christopher Monckton, scheduled to speak at the school’s pavilion on July 18.College principal Doctor Peter Casey said the school did not endorse the views of Mr Monckton but supported the right to freedom of speech.The college has received numerous phone calls asking them not to hold the event.Both the Port Adelaide Football Club and the Brisbane Broncos withdrew their venues due to protests after being booked by Mr Monckton, while 50 academics unsuccessfully petitioned the Perth University to do the same.Dr Casey said the pavilion had been booked by the Democratic Labor Party on behalf of the Climate Sceptics Party of Mt Gambier.“The hiring of the college pavilion to the DLP in no way indicates support, tacit or otherwise, for the views of (Lord) Monckton, the DLP or the Climate Sceptics Party,” Dr Casey said.However, he said the school did support freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.“The college has previously hired the hall to other parties on the clear understanding that the hire agreement in no way indicates support for the views, opinions of the political party and its members.”Mr Monckton is currently touring Australia to argue that the cost of reducing global warming will far outweigh any possible damage. He has also criticised both the federal government and Australia’s chief scientist Professor Ross Garnaut and warned Australia will become a Third World country if a carbon tax is implemented.Dr Casey also said Mr Monckton’s controversial views were not at odds with any teachings of the Catholic Church, despite “erroneous claims to the contrary”.Dr Casey said the “rigorous debate” that would stem from the public meeting would instead lead people to further question Mr Monckton’s views.He said Professor Garnaut has said there is no point trying to silence Mr Monckton but rather use his presence in Australia to promote well-informed debate.“St Patrick’s College, as part of the Catholic Church, is committed to recognising the traditional custodians of its land and the way that they cared for the country in a sustainable way. “The college is similarly committed to teaching about the importance of respecting the environment and so ensuring that future generations utilise the environment in a respectful and sustainable manner. These commitments find their way into the educational program of the college at all year levels.”