The education guru tasked with reforming Australia's national curriculum by the federal government was previously employed by tobacco firm Phillip Morris to design a school program teaching children about peer pressure and decision making that did not discuss the health dangers of smoking.
The material, which was given to more than 1500 children in Australia and New Zealand, instead encouraged students to make their own decisions about doing ''something wrong'' including smoking (later versions of the guide, including an Aboriginal version, included discussion of the harmful impacts of smoking).
On Friday, the material's author, Kevin Donnelly, was announced by Education Minister Christopher Pyne as one of two men to review Australia's national schools curriculum.
The other is University of Queensland Professor Ken Wiltshire.
Internal Phillip Morris emails from the time show the company was concerned acknowledging it was behind the 1999 ''I've Got the Power'' education packs would be counterproductive because of ''anti-smoking fervour'' in Australia.
Dr Donnelly said on Saturday he had never hidden his work for Phillip Morris and had taken the project on condition he would have full editorial control over the content.
''It was more a resilience program,'' he said of the fact the material did not mention the health risks of smoking. ''A lot of the health impacts had been, and were being, covered very well.''
Announcing the curriculum review, Mr Pyne said the pair's appointment was ''an important step on the path to a world class national curriculum''. He did not mention that Dr Donnelly had worked as Liberal frontbencher Kevin Andrews' chief of staff in 2004 and 2005.
Dr Donnelly has a long association with the Coalition. At the time he produced the Phillip Morris-funded education material, Dr Donnelly's firm was being paid by the Howard government to provide independent advice on the Discovering Democracy civics curriculum, instigated by former Prime Minister Paul Keating and rolled out by then-education minister David Kemp.
Dr Donnelly is the director of the Education Standards Institute, which his website states is the trading name for Impetus Consultants Pty Ltd, a business registered to the K Donnelly Family Trust.
In 2005, Amanda Vanstone told Parliament the Education Department had engaged Impetus Consultants to provide advice and services since 1996.
Ms Vanstone said Dr Donnelly had been paid $165,997 between 1997-2005 by the Howard government for consultant work.
An outspoken critic of the school curriculum, Dr Donnelly argued in November that, ''the cultural left has taken the long march through the education system and enforced its biased, ideological world view on schools''.
Dr Donnelly wrote in 2011 for the ABC: ''Multiculturalism is based on the mistaken belief that all cultures are of equal worth and that it is unfair to discriminate and argue that some practices are wrong''.
In 2004, he wrote that ''many parents'' would consider homosexuality ''abnormal behaviour'', arguing: ''the reality is that gays, lesbians and same-sex couples with children are a very small minority and such groups do not represent the mainstream.''
He has also called for the Bible to be taught in state schools.
But Dr Donnelly said his work would be independent.
''I've written a lot for the popular media but, really, I think people need to distinguish between the day-to-day political debates and what is a significant challenging, but sensitive, review of the curriculum,'' he said.
''The Commonwealth government doesn't employ any teachers or manage any schools, education is a state responsibility, so it has to be collaborative and it has to be consultative.''
Dr Donnelly and Professor Wiltshire will focus their review on the robustness, independence and balance of the English, mathematics, science, history and geography curriculum.
The story New curriculum reviewer was an education consultant to tobacco giant Phillip Morris first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.