The Cruel is Now Usual: Masks Off as Australian Leaders Laugh at Plight of Pacific Islanders, US Deniers Go Full Darth Vader

September 11, 2015


Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has been overheard quipping about the plight of Pacific Island nations facing rising seas from climate change.

The mask has come off.
As I posted the other day, in the US, Republicans have gone full unapologetic Darth Vader on Climate. Joe Romm has a great piece in Climate Progress on this today. There’s no longer any pretense.
In Australia, this plays out in a more-than-Freudian open-mic gaffe by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

ABC (Australia) News:

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has been overheard quipping about the plight of Pacific Island nations facing rising seas from climate change.

Mr Dutton was involved in a conversation with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who had just returned from lengthy talks focused on climate change with Pacific Island leaders in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

Noting that today’s meeting on Syrian refugees was running a bit late, Mr Dutton remarked that it was running to “Cape York time”, to which Mr Abbott replied, “we had a bit of that up in Port Moresby”.

Mr Dutton then added, “time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to have water lapping at your door”.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison then pointed out to both men that there was a microphone overhead.

There was a large television microphone on a three-metre-long boom pole above the MPs’ heads.

The Immigration Minister later refused to answer questions about the incident.

“I had a private conversation with the Prime Minister,” he said.

Green MPs:

Greens Deputy Leader and climate change spokesperson Larissa Waters says Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton have exposed themselves as absolute clowns who are the only ones laughing about rising sea levels due to global warming.

“These people are not governing for the good of Australia. They smoke cigars to celebrate their cruel budget, then they laugh about the effect their policies are having on people and our planet,” Senator Waters said.

“It’s disgusting and they know it’s wrong. Why else would they be scared of a boom mic?”

“What else are these clowns saying when the microphones are off? Imagine what Cabinet meetings must be like.

“What we’ve seen today is raw contempt for the survival and safety of our Pacific Island neighbours and our own coastal communities.

“We’re talking about peoples’ lives, and this government is laughing.

“It’s a huge diplomatic blunder that will enrage our Pacific Island neighbours, who have been calling on Australia to save their homes. What an insult for them to now hear the Australian Prime Minister laughing at the prospect of their homes going underwater.

“The mask has absolutely come off today. The government knows what it will cost to deliver for their fossil fuel donors, and they’re intent on doing it anyway.

“It’s now clear to everyone how impossible it will be for Abbott’s Australia to have any credibility at the UN climate talks in Paris later this year.

“This is the man we sent to the UN in Geneva this week to negotiate about refugees’ lives, for goodness sake.

“Abbott and Dutton are clowns, but they’re the only ones laughing,” Senator Waters said.

Joe Romm notes at ClimateProgress:

I’m not sure a major political leader has ever pursued a strategy that is so directly counter to the health and well-being of all Americans, their children, and the next 50 generations. The Pope ends his encyclical calling on God to “Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live. The poor and the earth are crying out.”

If indifference to the dangers of climate inaction by the rich and powerful is a sin, how immoral is it for the rich and powerful to actively try to block the entire world from acting?

11 Responses to “The Cruel is Now Usual: Masks Off as Australian Leaders Laugh at Plight of Pacific Islanders, US Deniers Go Full Darth Vader”

  1. rayduray Says:

    I haven’t noted the New York Times to be particularly helpful when it comes to the climate discussion, so this item about sea level rise in today’s paper is a welcomed surprise:

    [Note to Pacific Islanders: Consider Germany instead of Australia, mates.]

    • dumboldguy Says:

      I used to worry mainly about Arctic ice and the Greenland Ice Sheet, but the revelations about Antarctica melting over the past couple of years are altering my focus. Just finished a book titled Fraser’s Penguins, most of which centers on how AGW is impacting penguin habitat and populations, but it does have several interesting chapters on how the Antarctic Peninsula is warming faster than any other place on Earth. Fraser has been studying the area for 30 or 40 years, and the documented changes there have been extreme.

  2. reformfaanow Says:

    I am a white guy, close in age to these three Aussies. I have worn a suit a few times, too. I tell you what; anymore, nothing scares me more than white guys standing around in suits. Shame on us.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      LOL Amongst the folks who actually get things done in the world, “The Suits” are known as the ones who get in the way of progress (but take credit for any successes)—-I have known too many I only wore my jacket when going to meetings with “The Suits”—otherwise it hung in the closet at work. Rolled up sleeves and loosened ties are also helpful in accomplishing real work.

  3. uknowispeaksense Says:

    My feelings about my awful government are well known so I don’t really have anything to add other than an insight into the other part of the discussion which referred to “Cape York time” and “Port Moresby time”. These sayings are a throwback to other sayings not heard in respectable company…and they are “blackfella time” or “Murri time”. These are inherently racist terms meant to infer that the first Australians are lazy.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      In the U.S., there was a similar expression that is still acted upon, although I haven’t heard anyone say it out loud lately—-CPT or Colored People’s Time. It was used by black people rather than whites, and was the deliberate delay they often practiced in their dealings with whites.

      As explained to me by a chapter president of the NAACP after I busted his B’s about always being late to meetings, slaves had always been “waiting on Massa” (and white people in general after slavery times), and now it was time to return the favor by keeping THEM waiting.

      PS Should you ever manage to throw Abbott, Dutton, and friends out of AUS, they will find a welcoming home in red-state America (IF they can get over the wall that we want to build to keep immigrants out, that is).

  4. These clowns are not “leaders” in Australia, just politicians in power. They deserve nothing but contempt, and to be voted out at the next available election.

  5. […] famously climate denying Prime Minister Tony Abbott was unceremoniously booted from power the other day. In tandem with other developments across the […]

  6. […] Minister Malcolm Turnbull demonstrates the climate leadership that his predecessor, Tony Abbott, absolutely refused to, perhaps it’s time a true leader on this issue finally receives the respect she so richly […]

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