Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie has blasted an “irrational” state colleague for daring to link the NSW bushfires to climate change.
The federal agriculture minister has gone on the attack against Liberal MP and NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean after he broke ranks to criticise the Morrison government’s climate policies.
Their ugly public stoush has dragged on for several days.
Until Mr Kean’s extraordinary intervention this week, state and federal Coalition ministers spent weeks arguing there were no direct links between climate change and the bushfire crisis.
He inflamed the internal spat after suggesting he would rather listen to climate scientists than the federal frontbencher on the effects of global warming.
But Senator McKenzie said “I actually have a science degree – I am one of the few in parliament that does”.
“That’s what gets me a little frustrated about the irrational conversation we’re having on this topic,” she said on Friday.
“It doesn’t always suit certain people’s narratives of who the National Party is, who I may be as a minister, who the government may be, and their sort of perceptions of what we want to do around climate change and reducing emissions.”
However, Senator McKenzie acknowledged her degree was skewed towards mathematics rather than environmental science.
“But I do understand and appreciate the methodology of scientific thought and writing,” she said.
“I accept the science of climate change.
“But do we need to shut down everything, turn off the lights and go back to grass huts? No.”
Senator McKenzie argued the federal government could meaningful take action on climate change without harming agricultural or resources industries.