ANSTO apologises for poll changes
ANSTO is interested in stimulating public debate and discussion about nuclear science and technology. In so doing, it recently began a web poll on whether nuclear power should be part of Australia's future energy mix.
As a result of a dramatic change in poll voting patterns over the weekend, a staff member, without authority, modified the poll by changing the "I am against it" answer to "It is one of the options" at around 7.30am today. This was an unauthorised change. ANSTO acknowledges that both making a change and changing the answer "I am against it" to "It is one of the options" was a serious error of judgement by the staff member. This gave misleading and incorrect results to web visitors and poll participants.
Following an approach by an online news service, the staff member then changed the answer to "No" in a bid to correct the situation.
When ANSTO management became aware of the situation, it took action to restore the poll to the original answer and also included "No" to ensure all voters in the intervening period would be included in the statistics.
As the CEO of ANSTO, I wish to apologise unreservedly to stakeholders and participants for this unauthorised intervention in the poll results. The poll is on the front page of the ANSTO website at www.ansto.gov.au.
Dr Adi Paterson
Chief Executive Officer
Posted: 26 October 2009
Media Release from the Greens
ANSTO turn nuclear poll "NO" into "YES"
The Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has been caught out blatantly lying over the results of its own survey which showed overwhelming rejection of nuclear power by Australians.
“ANSTO deliberately fudged an online poll to appear as if respondents voted in favour of nuclear power in Australia,” Australian Greens Spokesperson on nuclear issues, Senator Scott Ludlam said this morning.
“Up until the weekend (Sun 25 Oct) the poll was running 3-1 against nuclear power. ANSTO simply changed the words “I am against it” option to read “It is one of the options," without resetting the poll numbers. Voila – manufactured consent for nuclear power.
“After howls of protest from irate respondents and calls from journalists, ANSTO changed the poll again, allowing people to register a simple “No”.
“This is a small but perfect example of the dishonesty that surrounds the "debate" about nuclear power in Australia,“ Senator Ludlam said.
“Instead of hearing the clear message coming through in its own survey, ANSTO turned a 'no' into a 'yes'. What an appropriate symbol for the way the whole nuclear power debate is being run in Australia.
"ANSTO chair Ziggy Switkowki has been a persistent advocate for nuclear power, even though we're told it is against Government policy. It is time Minister Kim Carr stepped in and clarified to ANSTO - and the public - what that policy is.
“The dishonest act brings into question any so-called surveys or reports stemming from ANSTO or any other nuclear advocates trying to propagate the idea that Australians are warming to the idea of nuclear energy.”
(See attached documents showing online poll before and after the fudge – www.ansto.gov.au)
Media contact – Fernando de Freitas on 0415 174 302