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Australian PM politicizing science?

CANBERRA, Australia, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Opponents accused the new Australian Labor government Friday of engaging in "political interference" in government science agencies.

The government ordered agencies to have all major press releases cleared with the office of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, The Sydney Daily Telegraph reported.

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"What these scientists say publicly should not be vetted through the science minister's and the prime minister's offices to ensure they contain the government's key messages," said Eric Abetz, industry and science spokesman for the opposition. "This is politicization of science."

Mark Paterson, a spokesman for the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, said that the government's intention is to provide "guidance," not to make sure that scientific announcements follow the government line.

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