As the federal election approaches, lying in the Liberal Party has become epidemic, and it sickens me that Australian politicians think so little of the Australian people that they will lie constantly to them. In this, they are aided and abetted by the Murdoch media who are running so scared of being held to account that they will say anything to keep their client Coalition government in power. One of the most recent examples is a Trumpesque lie from Minister for Energy, Angus Taylor, and Minister for the Environment, Melissa Price in which they firstly lie and secondly, accuse others of something of which they are guilty.
Angus Taylor was interviewed by Barrie Cassidy on Insiders and it was a completely shambolic interview in which Taylor simply denied that Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions were rising. He stated that they had dropped 1.4%1. This was lying by omission as what he did was to select the last quarter released (i.e. to September 2018)2, in which emissions did decrease by that amount. However, when Barrie Cassidy pointed out that in fact emissions have gone up every year since the repeal of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS; aka ‘Carbon Tax’)2, Taylor simply refused to admit it.
On top of Angus Taylor’s shemozzle of an interview, Melissa Price was interviewed some time later3. This is the exchange:
Reporter: Have emissions gone up or down, though? Have emissions gone up or down.
Price: Well, if you have a look at the data in the last quarter, they’ve gone down.
Reporter: But over the year, they’ve gone up. Over the past year, they’ve actually gone up.
Price: Well, I’m focused on the good news. We’ve been saying for some time that emissions are going down and my department’s own data has shown us that they’re going down, so…
Reporter: But the data actually show that the figures, year on year are going up, not down.
Price: Well, as I say, I’m focussed on the quarterly result, which is what we’ve been saying for some time, so, you know, it’s good news. You’ve got to take the good news.
Reporter: Do you expect that trend to continue? Are you just cherry picking data?
Price: No, I actually think the media is [sic] cherry picking. Thanks very much.3
It is disheartening to consider that these people are ministers in the government, given their seeming unfamiliarity with reality and their inability to understand how stupid they appear when they deny it. However, both do have previous form in the idiocy stakes, with Angus Taylor being of the second wave of climate change deniers (‘I believe climate science, but it is not economically feasible to do anything about it’). This seems to be in the hope that he would not be grouped with the moronic end of the climate change denial spectrum as are those in the Monash Forum4. The reason Melissa Price is so rarely interviewed is because, like Michaelia Cash, she is perceived to be a liability whenever she opens her mouth in public. This became obvious during an interview she had with Sabra Lane5.
These interviews seem to demonstrate that these Trumpesque lies from government ministers may not have the effect in Australia that the government hopes. As if to reinforce this perception, a group of 28 climate scientists, academics as well as former heads of energy companies have released a joint statement which makes it clear that Australia is NOT on track to meet its 2030 Paris emissions reduction targets, and even if it was, the target itself is woefully inadequate to avert dangerous climate change. They also indicate that, according to the data, emissions are projected to continue to rise to 20306 under the current government’s Emissions Reduction Fund. This most recent summer has been the hottest on record in Australia7, January 2019 was the hottest month every recorded in Australia8, despite the fact that there was not an El Niño in operation, and for much of January, Australia was the hottest place on the planet9. Could this be a sign of things to come? Could it be that Australia is the canary in the coal mine (excuse pun) of climate change? Will Australia be first place on the planet to feel the most severe effects of climate change?