Squiggly Rick Bids Farewell to Squirrely Larry

We wrote about Larry Marshall last year, when it was reported that Larry had “opted not try to extend his role” as CSIRO Chief Executive, and was threatening to unleash his entrepreneurial powers upon the university sector. It turns out that Larry’s “step down” from CISRO may have involved a bit of a push.

Rick Morton, aka Squiggly Rick, is a very good reporter, good enough to have said to hell with The Australian and to tell them why, and not in that order.* Rick now writes for The Saturday Paper, where he has done a uniquely excellent job reporting on the Robodebt Royal Commission. It was while reading up on Rick’s Robodebt reporting that we noticed Rick had also recently given Larry a kick.

Larry finished up at CSIRO on June 30, and a week before that Rick wrote about Larry’s tenure and the turmoil of his exit. Rick interviewed a bunch of current and former CSIRO staff, and they have painted a hell of a picture.

On last year’s puff piece claims that it was Larry’s decision to “step down”, one staffer responded, “that is complete and utter bullshit”. It seems clear that the CSIRO Board had decided, for whatever reason, that they’d had enough of Larry. It also seems clear that this decision has resulted in open warfare between an anti-Larry Board and a pro-Larry management. In response to such suggestions, Rick quotes a CSIRO spokesperson,

“[The agency] refutes comments inferring a negative relationship between CSIRO management and the CSIRO board”.

Proving, if nothing else, that the CSIRO spokesperson is among the seven billion people on the planet who don’t know the meaning of either “refutes” or “inferring”.

Rick’s report makes great reading. It gives Larry some credit while making it absolutely clear why many people, correctly in our opinion, couldn’t stand the guy. It is the send-off that Larry earned and deserved.

*) Rick interviewed us once, for a minor Australian article on the (previous) awful Australian mathematics curriculum (Murdoch, paywalled). He was impressive: human and smart and attentive. 

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