Australia has been branded a “pariah” for climate change and unreliable when it comes to international relations in the wake of the COP26 summit and the Prime Minister’s recent dispute with French President Emmanuel Macron.
- The federal government was criticized for not doing enough to help Pacific neighbors tackle climate change
- A panelist said Australia was a “pariah” at the COP26 climate conference
- A coalition member criticized the prime minister over his dispute with the French president
During a heady episode of Q + A, Scott Morrison’s own party member, NSW Treasurer Matt Kean, raged against the Prime Minister’s political feud with Mr Macron.
He criticized the leak of text messages between the prime minister and Mr Macron, which came after the French president’s accusation that Mr Morrison was a liar.
Kean supported the decision to leave the French submarine agreement, but said Mr Morrison handled the situation with Mr Macron poorly.
“The substantive decision was the right one in our national interests,” Mr Kean said of concluding the submarine agreement and joining the AUKUS alliance.
“So I think our international reputation is damaged.”
When asked about the leak of text messages, he was even more blunt in his criticism of his party and the nation’s leader.
“I do not think it is appropriate that we act in this way if we want to build trust, especially with our closest friends and allies, and I do not think this type of policy is in our national interest,” he said. he.
“[It is] a brand of politics that seeks to divide, seeks to play things out through the media, seeks to push misinformation and play games.
“We need to find common ground and build trust with our allies and friends. That is the brand of politics that I believe is in our national interest.”
His comments were repeated by many members of the panel, who believed that Mr Morrison had damaged Australia’s international status.
The leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt, took it a step further and called on Mr Morrison to apologize to Mr Macron.
“I now think there should be an apology.
“Scott Morrison has to work with President Macron and other EU leaders on climate change because this has damaged Australia’s reputation.
“Countries are now saying in Glasgow: ‘If you can not trust what Australia says, and if the Prime Minister wants to leak your text messages to the media when you have discussions between heads of state, then how can we trust them climate and other issues?’
“When we face such a global crisis, it’s a terrible situation to be in.”
But Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of the Australian newspaper, said it was Mr Macron who was out of the queue to call the prime minister a liar.
“I do not think Morrison lied to Macron beyond conducting … sensitive nuclear negotiations confidentially,” Sheridan said.
“I do not think he told any specific lie to Macron.
“I think the big breach of protocol is that Macron is calling him a liar at an international conference.
Sheridan went on to say that the leak of the text message exchange was not a unique event in world politics.
“I do not want to break any secrets or disappoint anyone, but after doing international journalism for 40 years, I find that governments are constantly leaking at each other. Constantly.”
‘Cigarette seller in a cancer ward’
It was not the only time the Prime Minister was criticized in the program, where Mr Bandt welcomed Mr Morrison’s actions at the COP26 climate conference and in particular Australia’s refusal to sign an obligation to switch away from coal.
Major coal-using countries, including Poland, Vietnam and Chile, are among the signatories to the agreement, but Australia, India, China and the United States are absent from the list.
It was a decision that did not go down well with the Greens’ leaders – who appeared on the show wearing a T-shirt with the words “no more coal and gas” – and he went on the attack against Mr Morrison.
“We have to get out of coal and gas,” he said.
“That’s been the whole point of this COP conference.
“The United States has led a process to say let’s cut gas because gas is as dirty as coal, and others like Britain have led a process to say let’s get out of coal and Australia has played a spoiler role.
“The whole world says we have to get out of coal and gas, and they sign promises to do so, and Australia shows up, and Scott Morrison gives them the middle finger.”
“Australia is now a handbrake on world action.”
Asked to respond after it was revealed that several of his federal coalition colleagues, including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Angus Taylor, Dan Tehan, Keith Pitt, Sussan Ley, Bridget McKenzie, Zed Seselja and James Paterson, all declined invitations to appear on Q + One Thursday night, Mr Kean said he wanted the federal government to do more when it comes to climate change.
“The reality is that the future of coal will be determined by foreign governments and foreign companies,” he said.
“Right now, foreign governments and foreign companies are moving towards a future with clean energy. So instead of investing in the technologies of the past, we must make sure that we are prepared to seize the enormous economic opportunities that will come with a low level. -carbon yield. “
“I think the Commonwealth Government should do much better because it is not only in the nation’s environmental interest to do so, it is in our economic interest to do so.”
Sheridan did not agree with Mr Bandt and Mr Kean, but he had a message for the federal government. He warned that it was losing the battle over the narrative of climate change, and that refusing invitations to air the government’s views was a “huge mistake”.
“I think the federal government is making a huge mistake by not showing up on Q + A,” Sheridan said.
“They’re losing the argument [on climate change] and should lay [forward their] argue when they can … It’s incredibly stupid of them. “
‘Australia is the pariah’ in Glasgow
However, the hits kept coming for the government when climate justice lawyer Kavita Naidu joined the panel from Glasgow, where she has been at the COP26 conference.
Asked whether Australia was doing enough to combat climate change for its Pacific neighbors, she said the prospect of COP26 was bleak.
“Australia is the pariah here right now,” Ms Naidu said.
“It has not increased its ambitions since 2015.
“Most countries are really stepping up to ensure that by 2030, then in the next decade we see some real reductions in emissions. Australia is not giving at all what we are playing with numbers.
“Twenty-five percent, 35 percent, the fact is that it must be done with 75 percent if there is any chance that we can keep the temperature at 1.5 degrees.
Sir. Bandt said Australia’s behavior towards its neighbors in the Pacific, which is currently among those most affected by climate change, needs to be improved.
Sir. Kean said conditions were a two-way street, and if Australia wanted help with other issues, such as dealing with Chinese ambitions in the region, it was necessary to help its neighbors fight climate change.
“I think we should be good friends for our neighbors,” Mr Kean said.
“If we want our neighbors to stand by us in the issues we worry about – we see the Chinese Communist Party trying to expand their influence through the Pacific and through the Belt and Road Initiative – then we should also be concerned. about the problems they are worried about. “
Watch the entire episode on iview or via the Q + A Facebook page.