'I'm Not Relying On Evidence': Senator Heckled Over Climate Change Scepticism
Liberal Senator Jim Molan was heckled and laughed at for expressing scepticism about human-induced climate change and admitting he was "not relying on evidence" on Monday night's Q&A.
The episode was filmed in front of a live audience in Queanbeyan after the show was moved from Bega due to the ongoing fire risk.
The retired Army Major General who was speaking on a panel with one of the world's leading climate scientists, Professor Michael Mann, said he wasn't convinced climate change was human-induced.
"I accept the climate is changing. It has changed and it will change. What it's producing is hotter and drier weather and a hotter and drier country," Senator Molan said.
"As to whether it is human-induced climate change, my mind is open."
Molan's defence of his government's response to the bushfires did not bode well with the rural audience, many of whom had been at the mercy of the devastating fires.
When host Hamish Macdonald pressed the senator on whether he believed in climate change, he said he respects "the scientific opinion but there are other opinions", citing "information" that comes across his desk "every day".
When asked what evidence he was using he was met with jeering from the audience after admitting: "I'm not relying on evidence, Hamish."
Professor Mann said the summer's weather conditions were not the "new normal" but that conditions could worsen if Australia and other countries didn't unify to lower carbon emissions.
"Every scientific institution in the world that's weighed in on this matter, climate change is real," Professor Mann said.
"It's human-caused. It's already leading to disastrous impacts here in Australia and around the rest of the world. And it will get much worse if we don't act," he said.
Molan also came under fire on Monday night for deflecting from a question asked by a woman who lost her home in the Mallacoota fires.
"What strategies are now being formulated and implemented by the Government to help those of us left homeless? And what strategies are being implemented to save us all from a national disaster of this magnitude in the future?" she asked.
The senator responded there was little the Federal Government could do to help fire victims but that they've already given millions of dollars to fire-affected councils.
"In any of these disaster situations, we start at the bottom and we manage up. And the role of the Federal Government in this is not to get down to the individual," Senator Molan said.
"What is the strategy? If I could put it very, very simply, the strategy, the strategy was first to support the firefighters. That was the most immediate strategy."
When Macdonald asked why the Federal Government didn't step in earlier, Molan responded "I think we did step in earlier," drawing more laughter from the crowd.
"We have got to look at who is responsible for fighting bush fires. Now that's changed and the PM has made a statement, in the future that will change," Senator Molan said.
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