Liberal MP Craig Kelly has become embroiled in an unseemly online war of words with a television meteorologist after being called a climate denier during a train wreck UK interview.
Mr Kelly was grilled by Good Morning Britain hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid over the coalition government's stance on the Australian bushfire crisis and was branded “not a climate sceptic” but a “climate denier” by the show's weather presenter Laura Tobin.
The Member for the New South Wales electorate of Hughes later took to Facebook call Tobin an "ignorant Pommy weather girl" who “doesn’t know what she’s talking about”.
Govt @LiberalAus MP denies climate change on UK TV. Challenged by presenter. On Facebook, MP calls her ‘Ignorant Pommy Weather Girl’. Uncensored by MP, followers pile in: ‘brain washed trollop’ ‘3/4 retarded’ ‘airhead’ ‘back in our day, weather girls were good looking sorts’. pic.twitter.com/pvmqqjHc32— Louise Milligan (@Milliganreports) January 6, 2020
Mr Kelly was invited on Good Morning Britain to defend Prime Minister Scott Morrison trip to Hawaii and his own comments about climate change, oil and coal.
Mr Kelly's appearance came after he told the BBC on Saturday that fires were a result of “drying” of the environment but that Australian scientists had disproved any link between climate change and drought.
While Scott Morrison has stressed in recent days there is “no dispute” about the impact of global warming, Mr Kelly has repeated his comments on Good Morning Britain hosts, saying the bushfire crisis was due to a lack of hazard reduction burning.
The backbencher was called a “disgrace” by Morgan and told to “wake up”.
“To try to make out as some politicians have to hijack this debate, exploit this tragedy and push their ideological barrow, that somehow or another the Australian government could have done something by reducing its carbon emissions that would have reduced these bushfires is just complete nonsense,” Mr Kelly hit back.
Tobin weighed by condemning Australia's carbon emissions commitments.
“At the moment we want everyone to commit in the world to be one-and-a-half degrees to lower our global temperature rise. You can’t even commit to two degrees," she said.
“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.”
Morgan described Mr Morrison’s disaster response as a “dereliction of his duty as leader of Australia”.
“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,” he said.
Watch the full interview below:
He repeated his assessment of the bushfire crisis and his on-air altercation on Tuesday morning during an interview with ABC Radio's Tom Tilly.
“The weather girl had no idea what she was talking about,” Mr Kelly said in response to Tilley's suggestion he had been d he had been “schooled” by Tobin.
When asked if he was embarrassed by his performance on Good Morning Britain, Mr Kelly said he was merely doing his duty as an MP.
“We have had these disasters in the past. Everybody’s got behind the leader. Unfortunately, during this disaster, we’ve seen people trying to exploit it for political advantage,” he said.