‘Climate denier’: Aussie MP slammed
An Australian Liberal MP has been labelled a climate denier on British breakfast television during a segment that ripped into our Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan, who earlier criticised Mr Morrison on Twitter for a "shameless and shameful" advertisement about the government's response to the bushfire crisis, interviewed Craig Kelly on the ITV show on Monday morning (UK time).
Mr Morgan began by noting that Mr Morrison's response to the bushfires devastating communities across Australia was to go on holiday to Hawaii, and asked Mr Kelly why he did that.
Mr Kelly explained that the bushfire response in Australia was the responsibility of state and territory governments.
"So the ultimate responsibility for fighting fires is the state premier's," Mr Kelly said.
But Mr Morgan's co-host Susanna Reid interrupted, saying "but it's a national emergency isn't it?".
"You'd expect the national leader to take charge and not fly out of the country," she added.
Mr Kelly responded saying the only thing a national leader could do was basically wait until he got a response from state premiers asking for more resources.
Craig Kelly MP defends Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s response to the wildfire crisis and says there isn’t a link between climate change and bushfires.@piersmorgan | @susannareid100 | #GMB pic.twitter.com/Mz0dxJSK5T— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) January 6, 2020
"Or he could show leadership," Reid said.
Morgan chimed in with, "the truth is he was absent when the fires were burning".
"The truth is, he was absent when the fires were burning. Scott Morrison thought the right response to these fires erupting in Australia was to go lie on the beach in Hawaii," Morgan said.
"And that was a dereliction of his duty as leader of Australia."
Good Morning Britain wasn't done there, bringing in its meteorologist Laura Tobin to take aim at the Liberal MP.
"Australia have just had, in 2019, their highest year temperature wise ever recorded," Ms Tobin began.
"At the moment we want everyone in the world to commit to lower our global temperature rise. You have the second highest carbon emission per person on earth and you are burying your head in the sand. This is a climate emergency. You're not a climate sceptic, you're a climate denier."
Mr Kelly told her there were "a few issues" with her comments, including that "during the first 20 years of this century we have had more rainfall than the first 20 years of the last century".
Ms Tobin told him, "Yes, there's more extreme weather."
Mr Kelly was also challenged on comments he made to Australians encouraging them to use as much gas as they possibly can this summer.
"Mr Kelly, you appeared at an event a few months ago when you said words to the effect of, 'Make sure you burn as much oil and gas as you can over the summer, put your roast in a gas-fired oven, fill up your gas bottles and fly from one end of the country to the other'," Mr Morgan said. "Why would you say such a thing?"
Mr Kelly responded: "Piers, that has nothing to do with our fires."
But Mr Morgan shot back immediately.
"Mr Kelly, given that most scientists in the world agree that the planet is heating at a dangerous level and that a lot of the contributing factors of that are from man-made use of fossil fuels and our carbon footprint, why would you as a senior politician in Australia encourage people to do the complete opposite to what every scientist is advising us to do?"
"Well Piers, because fossil fuels are one of the things that our lifestyle depends on," Mr Kelly said.
Ignoring Mr Kelly's attempt to spruik Mr Morrison's announcement on Monday of $2 billion for bushfire recovery efforts, Morgan continued.
"Scott Morrison thought the right response to these fires erupting in Australia was to go lie on a beach in Hawaii and that was a dereliction of his duty as leader of Australia," Morgan said.
"You're facing right now one of the greatest crises you've ever faced and there is you, Mr Kelly, with respect, a senior politician who still doesn't think this has anything to do with a heating up planet, nothing to see here, nothing to worry about," Morgan said.
Mr Kelly has denied there is a link between climate change and drought, and has slammed students who marched for climate change action last year as "sheep" who are being "manipulated".
"I follow the science" Mr Kelly interjects, as Morgan continues: "as virtually your entire country is eviscerated by fires, it's quite extraordinary".
Mr Kelly responded saying: "Not at all, this is a terrible disaster, this is one of our nation's worst natural disasters … in the past when we had these in our nation … we all sat back and did what we could to fix it up rather than people get out there to score political points."
But Morgan cut his comments short, saying "we have to leave it there".