Scott Morrison joined mine workers in stretching exercises to the strains of Jimmy Barnes’ Working Class Man on Friday as he continued his charm offensive in Western Australia.
The Prime Minister – who spent Thursday night at Fortescue Metal Group’s Christmas Creek camp, and shared a beer with the workers – had started Friday with a business breakfast in Karratha, in the state’s Pilbara region.
Then he headed back out to the camp for the morning shift changeover, where Fortescue owner Twiggy Forrest invited him to join the morning heart-starter.
“It’s a bit different to a barre class,” the PM quipped – in a reference to his mangled pronunciation of the exercise classes at an early pandemic media briefing in 2020.
Interestingly, he struck his dance moves just a day after describing the footage of a twerking dance troupe at a formal Navy ceremony as “disappointing”.
Mr Morrison was later due to visit an ammonia plant before heading to Kalbarri to inspect the widespread damage inflicted by Tropical Cyclone Seroja.
He said the nation had faced significant challenges, with Seroja preceded by floods and bushfires across much of the country.
“We have gone through a period in this country where the resilience has been tested,” he told the business breakfast.
“A key focus of the government, and you’ll see more of this in the budget and announcements in the weeks ahead, it’s about addressing all of those practical issues.
“There are things we can and must do to address Australia’s climate challenges.”
Mr Morrison said reducing emissions could not come at the expense of the resources industry, which he hailed as the backbone of the national economy.
He said companies Mr Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group were showing leadership with their drive towards using renewable energy to power their operations.
Fortescue has set a target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, exceeding Australia’s goal of “preferably” reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
“What we have to be able to do in meeting that challenge is demonstrate how we can do that and ensure that the heavy industries that exist in our country are part of that solution,” Mr Morrison said.
“And that they’re there in 2050, and not just there but stronger than they are today.
“One of the genuine concerns that people around the country have about those type of commitments is that they see it being achieved at the expense of these sorts of jobs and industries.
“My commitment is to ensure that we meet these commitments and at the same time and going further, continue to see a stronger heavy industry, whether it’s in manufacturing, whether it’s in resources or the many other sectors that are so reliant on an energy economy.”