Pollie Watch: Turnbull surrounded as Nash questions climate science | RenewEconomy

Pollie Watch: Turnbull surrounded as Nash questions climate science

Latest climate denying comments from a Coalition MP – this time Nationals deputy Fiona Nash – prove climate deniers from Abbott era are still going strong, and have Malcolm Turnbull surrounded.


It’s no wonder the Turnbull government’s climate credentials are being actively questioned: Yet another senior member of Coalition – the Deputy leader of the Nationals, no less – says  the overwhelming scientific consensus on the cause and broad implications of climate change is not a thing.

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Senator Fiona Nash

“I don’t think it is certainly necessarily settled,” Nationals Senator Fiona Nash told Sky News in a discussion about what she described as “varying views” on climate change on Thursday.

Nash’s comments follow those of Coalition colleague Senator George Brandis, who told Parliament on Tuesday that he was not convinced there was scientific consensus on climate change.

“Senator Carr, you’re the one who says the science is settled. I don’t,” Brandis said earlier this week. “I’m aware that there are a number of views about the two questions of the nature and the causes of climate change. It doesn’t seem to me that the science is settled at all. But I’m not a scientist, and I’m agnostic, really, on that question.”

Brandis’ comments neatly encapsulate all the ingredients of gold class climate denial, including the use of ideology – and even allusions to religious belief – to argue against decades of scientific research, not to mention basic economics.

More importantly, though, his comments – as the government’s leader in the Senate – alongside those of Nash and Joyce, serve to remind us that the same climate deniers who populated the upper ranks of the Coalition during Tony Abbott’s reign are still there, and have Malcolm Turnbull surrounded.

Joyce, who appears to have recently come around on the subject of renewable energy, at least in his own electorate and in the face of a bitter fight with Tony Windsor, has also had occasion to question the link between humans, climate change and the weather.

“Look….I just – I’m always sceptical of the idea that the way that anybody’s going to change the climate – and I’m driving in this morning and we’re driving through a frost – is with bureaucrats and taxes,” he told conservative commentator and noted climate denier Andrew Bolt in an interview last May.

“All that does is….it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I make you feel guilty so I can get your money and put it in my pocket and send reports backwards and forth to one another,” he said.

AsWindsor has noted, Joyce is one of a core group of arch conservatives – including Corey Bernardi, and Kevin Andrews – of being a “handbrake” on the Turnbull government’s climate and renewables policies.

Which is why he has thrown his hat back into the political ring, announcing last month he would re-contest his former seat of New England, pitting himself directly against Joyce.

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  1. Chris Fraser 5 years ago

    Actually there is only one view of climate change. All other views are very foolish.

    • Peter Campbell 5 years ago

      You can accept what the people with relevant expertise say, or you can be wrong.

  2. Thucydides 5 years ago

    In fact, the only science not settled is where the tipping points lie exactly and whether the world as we know it can survive a two degree rise. The idiots are in charge of government. God help us if they are still there after the election.

    • Pfitzy 5 years ago

      Is “Unions” Shorten going to be any better with his mob? He’s not about to campaign on a carbon tax because it’s political suicide….

      They’re all in someone’s hip pocket – Libs to mining via big business and jobs, Labor to mining via unions and jobs.

      We’re on a sticky wicket

      • Hugh Butler 5 years ago

        The key business interest is banks & super funds. Their exposure is around 13% to fossil fuels. The big 4 stand to lose heaps.

        • Pfitzy 5 years ago

          Yeah I saw some news about various funds divesting from coal especially. No surprise with the way the price has fallen.

      • MaxG 5 years ago

        Your view is too stereotypical or polarised…
        Both major parties are unelectable.
        the labour movement (which I distinguish from unions) over the last hundred years have brought the benefits which most of the working community enjoy today… take away all that, and the LNP is working on that, you end up with literally nothing. E.g. you’re sick, you’re out of a job; holidays: forget it; minimum wage: haha, you’re dreaming. Public goods/services being privatised, thus costing more.
        So, think a bit more or rather deeper, before promoting the all polarising slogans.

        • Pfitzy 5 years ago

          Both major parties are making it very difficult for themselves. Two-party dominated politics is a spluttering engine at this stage, and its hard to see a time where we don’t just vote out the incumbent.

          That was a four-sentence simplification of politics in Australia, but it amounts to something along the lines of truth.

          The labour movement has done great things, and you can’t just “take it away” and ignore that history. That is a bit of a throwaway statement from someone asking me to think deeper.

          Unions were involved heavily in that labour movement, but they’re losing their course. Union fees go to a self-serving, mostly obstructionist organisation to actually keep people employed, looking for ways to make themselves indispensable or get into politics so they can continue the cycle.

          Ideally, politicians and unionist representatives should operate with the philosophy of being so good at their job, they don’t need to do it any more, and can get back to what they were engaged in previously.

          Unfortunately, both are now seen as career paths.

          • MaxG 5 years ago

            Thanks… well done 😉 appreciate the reply.

          • Pfitzy 5 years ago


            I’d just love a politician to wake up one day and stop worrying about the jobs of yesterday, and start pushing the jobs of tomorrow.

            Imagine what we could do if we put the minds of the FIFO engineers into construction of renewables and the industries we can build on top of a 21st century economy!

          • solarguy 5 years ago

            If you have been tuned in, you would know, that Labor and the Greens already are pushing the RE jobs of tomorrow.

          • Pfitzy 5 years ago

            When they were in power, the ALP took the correct step of introducing a carbon tax (despite all the rubbish media surrounding it) but didn’t really extend themselves to looking at the bigger issues i.e. wind-down of fossil fuels.

            And that was difficult at the time because mining of all kinds (coal, iron ore, precious metals etc) was what saved us from the GFC.

            It must be said though, that voting a politician in on a promise is a hairy business 🙂

          • solarguy 5 years ago

            It so happens they did see the big picture, but back in 2007 solar was far more expensive so didn’t push the idea to the public about displacing coal, as it seemed to be too far into the future. All that has changed now.
            The only promise Abbott made that he fulfilled was to axe the carbon price which led him and all his other FF mindless puppets to completely wreck RE investment in this country.

      • Rob G 5 years ago

        Not so, Shorten has been quite brave and has said quite clearly that he will introduce an ETS (That’s not a carbon tax), he has a 50% renewable target by 2030 and a reduction in emissions by 45% also by 2030. Labor know full well that coal is dead and they want to see transition of jobs into the renewables sector. While Labor no doubt receive donations from vested interests, they are not from the types the LNP have been in bed with. Ask yourself why the LNP/Abbott regime ran the ‘Axe the Tax’ scare campaign…

        Furthermore starting your message with “Unions” Shorten, tells readers to beware of your apparent leaning. Even if the Libs are painted with the same brush. Under Labor emissions fell and renewables grew quickly – the opposite is true for this government.

  3. howardpatr 5 years ago

    Poor Cayman Turnbull – he can certainly act in his own financial interests as his wealth attests but he seems unable to act in the interest of Australia and the world when confronted by Mad Monk Abbott and his far right religious fundamentalists on the issues of climate change and the renewable energy future.

  4. Alastair Leith 5 years ago

    While there’s a great deal more to learn about climate processes and modelling with more detail as available computing power increases, the notable facts are that 1) James Hansen’s 1990s mid-range predictions were in fact largely very accurate
    2) when it turns out the science didn’t include some important data (like accelerating rate of polar ice melt due to little understood melt water hydrology) the prognosis usually worsens not improves
    3) due to the lag in climate systems that some scientists average out to 35 years for historical emissions to come to a (theoretical only) equilibrium, we never actually know how much damage to the climate we have already done. Kevin Anderson of TyndallºCentre says we just don’t know if critical tipping points like complete loss of polar land ice have been already crossed.

    So sure, many things remain unsettled, but there’s a huge body of evidence to say we’re well on track to wipe out civilisation as we know it. Governments spend hundreds of billions a year on vastly lower risk perceived national security threats. Look forward to national legislation which makes those in power legally accountable for destroying much of this countries wealth and native flora and fauna if in fact that comes about. MPs know mostly they’ll be dead or too old to get a sentence so some nearer term prosecutions for demolition of our early warning climate radar (CSIRO) would be welcome to sharpen the focus.

    • MaxG 5 years ago

      Well said… given the lack of quality education in this country, most cannot fathom the science, let alone what to make of it. The previous prime minister was a reflection of Australian intelligence. It takes idiots to vote an idiot into power.

      • solarguy 5 years ago

        While I get your point on the standard of education in Australia, there are unfortunately well educated people who voted for Abbott because of his constant use of three word slogans. And their also apathetic as to what is truly happening in politics and the facts. If they don’t bother to listen and understand, they will make stupid choices.

      • Alastair Leith 5 years ago

        I think people aren’t so much idiots as happy to believe convenient lies that promise a simple path to wealth, prosperity and not confronting their own inherent ignorance (which I’m full of of course like any human but a bit more keen to uncover and dissolve it).

      • Alastair Leith 5 years ago

        Agree with the education situation. Having worked in Territory education for a prestigious uni I know first hand just how dumbed down the conveyor belt education service industry has become in some faculties.

  5. Pedro 5 years ago

    I was asked by a child if I believed in climate change. I said, “of course I don’t believe in climate change. I also don’t believe in fairies, santa and unicorns. Climate change is a fact. I know climate change is real like gravity is real.”

  6. trackdaze 5 years ago

    Another one for get up campaign focusing on ousting the right wing nutters at the election.

  7. john 5 years ago

    Why do these people continue to put their foot in their mouths?
    Are we to leave a legacy to the 3rd generation after this one that is going to be not exactly good?
    If I want investment advice i do not ask the postman, so let us not ask a non scientist a science question.
    If these elected people will not listen to the advise that is given, it shows a disposition to not have the credentials for good governance.
    The simple fact they will not be elected.
    As time goes by those who only care about themselves not others are going to be a smaller and smaller group in society, and hopefully eventually a more level headed forward looking group will be doing the job of government.

  8. solarguy 5 years ago

    Tony Windsor is a good, honest and intelligent man, who gets it on climate change and RE, whom I have the utmost respect for. On the other hand Barmy Choice is intellectually self crippling.
    Go Tony!

  9. Rob G 5 years ago

    I suspect Brandis is also agnostic about the earth being round. Voters need to ask themselves do they want a bunch of politicians who struggle with science running the country? And these guys are also struggling with concepts of fairness, of progress, of a changing society? Yes, add that they are not equiped to deal with many of the current issues we now face.

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