News National Deputy PM fumes over climate link to bushfires

Deputy PM fumes over climate link to bushfires

Michael McCormack has attacked people for linking climate change to conditions which enabled the latest fires to take hold. Photo: ABC
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Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has slammed “raving inner-city lunatics” for talking about climate change when hundreds of homes in NSW and Queensland are in peril from bushfires.

Accusing environmentalists and the Greens of “disgraceful, disgusting” behaviour, Mr McCormack said he was sick and tired of people like the Greens MP Adam Bandt sitting in apartments in Melbourne preaching climate change and calling for the coal industry to be shut down.

“Now is the time to put fires out … We have a situation that could prove catastrophic,” he told ABC radio.

“What people need now is a little bit of sympathy, understanding and real assistance; they need help, they need shelter. They don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time when they’re trying to save their homes. It is disgusting and I will call it out every time.”

Mr McCormack said the Morrison government was trying to take sensible action on climate change without shutting down industries.

“At the same time, we are not going to shut down an industry, say coal, [that provides] 54,000 direct jobs,” he said.

“It’s not about cheap political point-scoring. Not the ravings of some greenie in his apartment in Melbourne, crying out how bad coal is.”

But he warned he would not cop PM Scott Morrison being blamed by the Greens for the loss of homes and lives in bushfires.

“What really galled me is that he blamed Scott Morrison and the government for the loss of those lives,” he said.

“We’ve had fires in Australia since time began.”

During the interview, Mr McCormack was pressed by the ABC’s Hamish McDonald over climate change groups and emergency services groups struggling to get in the door to meet with ministers. He said sometimes these groups pretended to be people they were not and were a “front for something else”.

“Sometimes you meet with these groups and, honestly, all they want to do is waste your time,” he said.

Three people have been killed and 150 homes destroyed in NSW and there are still 45 fires burning in central Queensland.

Last week, a local mayor, climate change policy expert, firefighter and resident whose father’s home was destroyed in the early-season fires told The New Daily they wanted climate change at the centre of the conversations about the deadly emergency.

Glen Innes Severn Council’s mayor, Carol Sparks, who lost her home, said “there is no doubt about it, we are suffering from the effects of climate change and global warming”.

“The trees are dying and they are so dry and volatile,” Cr Sparks said.

“We’ve got no water in our dams, no water in our rivers, no water in our creeks.”

Later on Monday, Cr Sparks urged Mr McCormack to refer to scientific evidence before commenting further.

“I think that Michael McCormack needs to read the science, and that is what I am going by, is the science,” she told the ABC.

“It is not a political thing – it is a scientific fact that we are going through climate change.”

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