• 11 NOV 12
    • 0

    News Flash: Former Motorola Strategic Director directing the Victorian Government’s response to smart meter health complaints

    In a recent letter to a concerned Victorian citizen from the Office of the Minister for Energy and Resources, the Minister discounted the potential for any health impacts of smart meters partially based on the expert advice of the Victorian Radiation Advisory Committee. To Quote:

    Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has endorsed the advice of the Victorian Ministerial radiation Advisory Committee, consisting of doctors and experts in the field of radiation, which found “that there is no substantive evidence to suggest that exposure to radiofrequency radiation such as from Smart Meters can increase the risk of chronic health effects, such as cancer”. Further information is available on the Chief Health Officer’s website at www.health.vic.gov.au/chiefhealthofficer/smart-meters.

    So, I wondered just who were the non-ionizing radiation experts on the Radiation Advisory Committee? As it turns out there is only one; Dr. Ken Joyner, so it stands to reason that as he is the only committee member with the “relevant” expertise, it is his advice that the rest of the Radiation Advisory Committee is following – and as a result the Victorian government as well.

    Such an influential position is not new to Dr Joyner. Previously he enjoyed a similar role as non-ionizing radiation advisor for the National Health & Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) where he played a pivotal role guiding the direction of mobile phone research for the NH&MRC, including advice on establishing the ACRBR in partnership with Telstra. It did not worry the federal government in the least, however, when they appointed him to the NH&MRC advisory role (apparently against the NH&MRC’s wishes-see below), that he was also employed as Director, Global EME Strategy and Regulatory Affairs, Motorola Australia.

    Dr. Joyner retired from his Directorship at Motorola in 2009 and said at the time that he was “looking for new opportunities to work in the telecommunications industry”

    In my opinion this raises serious questions over the impartiality of the so called expert advice from the VRAC when it comes to non-ionizing radiation issues (such as smart meter emissions)as Dr. Joyner is the sole voice on the committee and his whole career, and scientific advice, has been one of denying any hazards from RF below the RF thermal standard limits.

    Apparently, in Australia having a monumental conflict of interest is no barrier for influential membership on expert health committees.

    Following are relevant excerpts taken from A Machiavellian Spin: Political and corporate involvement with cell phone research in Australia

    In 1996 NH&MRC did establish an expert committee along the lines of the CSIRO recommendations. Concerned about the potential involvement of the telecommunications industry in this process, Sarah Benson, a researcher for Senator Lyn Allison, wrote to the NH&MRC in early December 1996 asking about industry representation. On December 30 Richard Morris, Assistant Secretary of the Health Research Branch, replied, stating that members of the telecommunications industry would not be involved:

    In regard to your concern about the involvement of industry in the NH&MRC process, let me assure you that members of the NH&MRC Expert Committee will be active researchers without links to the telecommunications industry. This independence from industry is seen as being of great importance to NH&MRC.

    Despite this assurance from the NH&MRC, when it came to appointing a key expert radiation adviser to its EME Expert committee, they chose Dr. Ken Joyner, Motorola”s Director of “Global EME Strategy and Regulatory Affairs” . Dr. Joyner has also represented the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, an industry group, on the telecommunications standards committee and had also represented the Mobile Manufacturers Forum.

    Such a complete reversal of their former stance that “independence from industry is seen as being of great importance” was most likely a result of direct political interference by the federal government. Joyner has been closely associated with the formulation of government policy on RF exposure. This is seen in the Bioelectromagnetics Newsletter of July/August 1998. In his article titled “Australian Government Action on Electromagnetic Energy Public Health Issues” Joyner”s affiliation was given as representing the Australian Federal Department of Communications and the Arts .

    When asked by Senator Lyn Allison about the advisability of Dr. Joyner being appointed to the NH&MRC Expert Committee to advise on submitted proposals for mobile phone research, Minister Senator Richard Allston saw no conflict of interest because (in part):

    Dr. Joyner”s involvement in the EME Expert Committee in relation to communications technology is as an individual and not as a representative of the telecommunications industry or his employer, Motorola.

    Despite Allston”s assurance of Dr. Joyner”s advice being independent from Motorola”s corporate objectives, it must be noted that Motorola has been active in attempting to influence mobile phone research internationally. For example, Motorola has played a central role in the European Union”s cell phone research effort. This was not without complaints. As reported in Microwave News (1999) there was a fair amount of discontent on part of European scientists with Motorola”s involvement with the EC research and telling European scientists how to spend research funds.

    In January 2009 Dr. Joyner announced that he was leaving his Director position at Motorola after 12 years and was “looking for new opportunities to work in the telecommunications industry”. Dr. Joyner was listed on the NH&MRC website (as of Sept 2010) as one of over 700 peer reviewers for the year 2009 and his affiliation is given simply as “consultant”.


    See full paper here

    Also see: Bypassing Peer Review: Motorola”s influence on mobile phone research in Australia (Or, Beware of Mickey Mouse Reviews)

    Leave a reply →