CSIRO’s position on public comment by CSIRO staff members is set out in the CSIRO Code of Conduct and the Public Comment by CSIRO Staff procedure, which is available to all staff members. The procedure aims to assist CSIRO staff in their external communication activities.
The procedure states:
- Scientists are CSIRO’s frontline communicators. They are encouraged to communicate the outcomes and implications of their scientific work and, where relevant, policy options and scenarios stemming from their scientific findings.
- Prior to contributing to public debate or to government inquiries, CSIRO staff should consult widely within the organisation, and where diversity of scientific views exists make reference to the range of scientific perspectives held within CSIRO. Staff will comply with CSIRO’s formal procedures and protocols for co-ordination of submissions to government and other inquiries, and, where they exist, associated obligations for confidentiality.
- CSIRO staff should not advocate, defend or publicly canvass the merits of government or opposition policies (including policies of previous Commonwealth governments, or State or local or foreign governments).
- If a staff member is commenting in a private capacity, he or she should state clearly that it is a personal opinion rather than an official view of CSIRO.
- If a staff member intends to comment publicly on behalf of CSIRO, he or she will advise line managers and communication officers. In some circumstances (for example, requests from the media) timeliness of response is important, and in such cases this advice can be provided immediately after comment is made.
- Comments to the media about the Organisation’s overall directions, operation, strategies and financial position should only be made by appropriately delegated staff.
These requirements are explained in more detailed in the rest of the procedure, which is available to all staff members.