Barnaby Joyce Says Two NSW Bushfire Victims Most Likely 'Voted For Greens'
Nationals backbencher Barnaby Joyce has suggested two people who died in NSW bushfires "most likely" voted for the Greens.
Mr Joyce raised the suggestion while defending his criticism of Greens councils for an apparent lack of hazard-reduction burns.
"I acknowledge that the two people who died were most likely people who voted for the Green party, so I am not going to start attacking them," he told Sky News on Tuesday.
"That's the last thing I want to do. What I wanted to concentrate on is the policies that we can mitigate these tragedies happening again in the future."
Joyce was referring to Wytaliba's Vivian Chaplain and George Nole who lost their lives in a bushfire at the small town.
He later defended his comments saying he was trying to urge politicians to be more respectful to the community where the victims lived.
“The people who live there are in a commune basically. Wytaliba is an alternative community. They don’t vote for me, they vote for Greens, and I’ve got no problem with it. They agree there should have been more burn reduction, fuel reduction," he told New Daily.
He also revealed his parents' property is in the path of fires.
Labor frontbencher Kristina Keneally slammed his remarks to Sky News during a Senate estimates hearing.
"How does he know who they voted for and why does it matter? They're dead; they died in a bushfire. Isn't that enough?" Senator Keneally said.
Despite raising policy suggestions of his own while the bushfires continued to burn, Mr Joyce criticised Greens MP Adam Bandt for demanding an end to coal production.
"To make these spurious links - that a policy change would have stopped the fire - is so insulting and just completely beyond the pale," Mr Joyce said.
"Because people think, well, maybe if that was the truth I wouldn't be burnt, maybe if that's the truth a good friend of mine would not be dead.
"And you can't do that Adam, you just can't do stuff like that."