They claimed that they had received death threats.
When challenged to show them, they said “make us”. When issued with an FOI request, they said it’d cost $40,000 (or more!) and take 2520 hours to produce evidence of the threats.
Chris Merritt’s summary in The Australian (pay-walled) says:
ATTEMPTS to verify last year’s sensational reports of death threats against climate change scientists have been stymied by the Australian National University, which wants to be paid at least $37,800 to search its records for evidence that would support those reports.
The university has justified that fee by asserting that the search would take 2520 hours and occupy six employees for 60 days working seven-hours a day at $15 an hour.
As part of his FOI application, Mr Turnill had also sought access to all documents and records containing communications with journalists — particularly those at The Canberra Times — about threats to staff at the university’s Climate Change Institute
Since when is somebody allowed to publically claim that they’ve been threatened and have that claim treated seriously without producing any evidence of a threat? In the real world, such are perceived as attention-seeking, professional “victims”.
It doesn’t improve credibility to make claims that aren’t substantiated. One can only do worse by refusing to substantiate.