Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon has called Barnaby Joyce a “Neanderthal” in a clash in the corridors of Parliament over the ALP’s new emissions reduction target.
In an unedifying encore performance of the odd couple’s regular “Punch and Judy” double act on Channel 7’s Sunrise, the pair traded blows on Monday morning over climate change policy for the television cameras.
It follows Anthony Albanese’s announcement on Friday that the ALP will adopt a net-zero emissions by 2050 target.
A red-faced Mr Joyce returned fire after Mr Fitzgibbon crashed his press conference attacking Labor’s policy record on climate change policy.
Earlier, Sunrise host David Koch shut down an interview with the pair as it descended into chaos and the former deputy prime minister delivered a sarcastic response on Labor’s record.
“I would just like to thank the Labor Party by deciding, by 2050, we will have zero net emissions [because it means] we will have zero Labor Party seats in Australia,” Mr Joyce said.
“You are like a Scud missile looking for a political opportunity. Both the National Farmers’ Federation and Meat And Livestock Australia have committed to net zero by 2030, Barnaby,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
Mr Joyce had interjected “your equation is zero, so future emissions from coal mines, these fellas are gonna be put out of a job.
“It has to come from somewhere, Joel, and you are not telling us where. It has to come out of agriculture, and for people in the city that’s all right – you’re just going to pay a lot more for food – but that’s all right because Mr Albanese from Australia is going to save the world.
“And you are going to lose your job, Joel, you are going to lose your job.”
Earlier, NT Coalition Senator Sam McMahon also weighed in on the issue with a bizarre reference to mud huts.
“To say we’re going to hit zero by 2050 … if you think ordinary Australians voted the way they did [at the federal election] on May 18th to live in mud huts with no electricity, then sure, that’s a good thing, but I don’t think they did,” she said.
She also tweeted: “What did Labor and Greens use before Candles? Electricity.”
In question time on Monday, Mr Albanese asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison if he agreed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 was consistent with Australia’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.
“On this side of the house, and this is what we took to the Australian people, we said we would hit 26 per cent reduction by 2030. We have a clear plan to achieve that,” Mr Morrison said.
“What I know is that Australians will always pay the price for Labor’s ill-considered decisions.
“They will pay the price for a plan that doesn’t even exist by 2050. And they can’t tell you what they will do 10 years from now, so how could you believe anything about what will happen 30 years from now?”
Warringah MP Zali Steggall, who secured Tony Abbott’s seat last year on a platform of tackling climate change, asked Mr Morrison if the government had assessed the impact of three degrees of warming trends on jobs and the economy.
“What is the cost?” Ms Steggall said.
“We do understand there are costs associated with climate change that we are indeed taking action on to reduce emissions,” Mr Morrison said.
“I am asked about the costs. What I can assure the Australian people is they will always pay the price of Labor’s failed climate policies.”