MP targets ‘ignorant Pommy weather girl’
THE Morrison Government backbencher who was lambasted on the highest rating British breakfast television show for being a "climate denier" has hit back, labelling the program's meteorologist an "ignorant Pommy weather girl" who "doesn't know what she's talking about".
Liberal MP Craig Kelly appeared on Good Morning Britain to defend Prime Minister Scott Morrison over his handling of Australia's bushfire disaster.
He was confronted by hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid over the PM's response to the national emergency - most notably his decision to holiday in Hawaii.
But the trainwreck interview also included a lesson from GMB's meteorologist Laura Tobin, who told Mr Kelly "you are burying your head in the sand" and "you're not a climate sceptic, you're a climate denier".
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
Mr Kelly responded on Facebook, writing: "Oh no, ignorant Pommy weather girl calls me a climate change denier."
This morning, as he was quizzed about the appearance on ABC Radio National, Mr Kelly fired more shots at Tobin and Morgan.
"You were schooled by a weather reporter," host Tom Tilley said to Mr Kelly.
"The weather girl had no idea what she was talking about," Mr Kelly said after Tilley suggested he had been "schooled" by Tobin.
"These facts have to be said. If you go on these shows and they cut you off, there's nothing I can do about that," Mr Kelly said.
Tilley asked whether the Member for Hughes felt embarrassed by his performance on the show.
"Don't you think you embarrassed the prime minister rather than defending him?" Tilley asked.
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
"What do you think your colleagues will make of your performance?"
Mr Kelly said he was doing his duty as a Government MP during a national disaster.
"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."
When asked why he appeared on UK TV when he was only a backbencher, Mr Kelly said he was "out there defending our nation".
Tilley asked Mr Kelly if he was part of a "denialist cult" that had taken over the Coalition Government - a suggestion made by Kevin Rudd yesterday.
"There's no denialist cult," Mr Kelly said.
The GMA appearance was met by stinging criticism online and, reportedly, within the Government.
Tourism Australia suspends $15m campaign in Britain due to bushfires . Instead, they get Craig Kelly. https://t.co/ljOqvKbDq1— robbiebuck (@robbie_buck) January 6, 2020
Scott Morrison personally intervened to insist this guy was preselected at the last election after a majority of the Liberal Party wanted Kelly gone over this sort of rubbish. What a great captain’s call ... https://t.co/K2gW3tUst2— Darcy Byrne (@MayorDarcy) January 6, 2020
Text from one senior Liberal on Craig Kelly's UK TV appearance 'Still, I’m pleasantly surprised none of our people have said the bushfires are because of gay marriage, so that’s a win.'— Latika M Bourke (@latikambourke) January 6, 2020
During the seven-minute interview, Morgan and Reid took turns quizzing the former furniture salesman-turned MP before calling on the expert, their in-house meteorologist Tobin, who studied physics and meteorology at Reading University in the UK.
"Australia have just had, in 2019, their highest year temperature wise ever recorded," Tobin told Kelly.
"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."
On Twitter, Ms Tobin wrote that she was "frustrated" that Mr Kelly could not - or would not - make the link between man-made climate change and Australia's bushfires.
The rage is because he can’t see the link begins the devastating wild fires & #climatechange after Australia just had their hottest & driest years on record— Laura Tobin (@Lauratobin1) January 6, 2020
There will be more fires in a warmer World
It’s important we keep taking about it but even more offer help to those in need https://t.co/WeOJtsrSlg
Reid asked Mr Kelly if the PM should have taken a holiday in Hawaii at the peak of the bushfire emergency.
"It's a national emergency isn't it?".
"You'd expect the national leader to take charge and not fly out of the country."
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.
"Or he could show leadership," Reid said.
Morgan chimed in: "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.
"And that was a dereliction of his duty as leader of Australia."
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.