Craig Kelly Slammed As A 'Disgrace' And 'Climate Denier' In Trainwreck British TV Appearance
Liberal MP Craig Kelly has defended Scott Morrison's response to the bushfire crisis in a fiery interview on British TV that saw him slammed by the hosts as a 'climate denier' and a 'disgrace'.
During his live appearance on the UK's Good Morning Britain program overnight, Kelly was asked why the Prime Minister went on a family holiday in the midst of the bushfire emergency that has gripped the nation for months.
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The backbencher replied that the ultimate responsibility for fighting fires in Australia rests with state premiers and emergency services and that Morrison had helped the states whenever it was needed.
"The only thing the national leader can actually do on this is basically to wait until he gets a response from those premiers asking for more resources," Kelly said.
"And every time anyone of those state premiers has come forward and said we need something the Prime Minister has done it."
"Or he could show leadership," host Susanna Reid fired back, adding that it was a 'national emergency' that should have garnered a national response.
Co-host and conservative commentator Piers Morgan -- who has repeatedly slammed Morrison for his response to the bushfire crisis -- said the PM's holiday was "a dereliction of his duty as leader of Australia."
"Scott Morrison thought the right response to these fires erupting in Australia was to go lie on a beach in Hawaii," Morgan said.
"You're facing one of the greatest crises you've ever faced and there is you, Mr Kelly, with respect, a senior politician who still doesn't think this has anything to do with a heating-up planet."
"Virtually your entire country is eviscerated by fire."
The chaotic interview, which also saw Kelly get into a heated debate with the show's meteorologist Laura Tobin, has gone viral online and divided viewers.
Tobin went head to head with Kelly after he agreed that the planet was heating up but refused to acknowledge that climate change was a factor in the current bushfire crisis.
"There is simply no trend," he told her.
Kelly instead said the fires were a result of a build-up of fuel on the ground and the nation's drought, adding, when queried about previous comments he made on fossil fuels, that Australia's lifestyle was dependent on them.
"This is a climate emergency," Tobin said.
"You're not a climate skeptic, you're a climate denier."
Kelly later went on to say the fires were "a terrible disaster".
"One of our nation's worst natural disasters... and in the past when we had these in our nation we all sat back and we did what we could do to fix it up rather than people get out there to score political points."
Morgan ended the segment by slamming Kelly as a disgrace and telling him to "wake up" to the climate emergency.
"I've got to say, wake up. Wake up. Climate change and global warming are real and Australian right now is showing the entire world just how devastating it is," he said
"And for senior politicians in Australia to still pretend there's no connection is absolutely disgraceful.
The interview has gone viral in a matter of hours with Kelly since taking to Facebook in a series of posts mocking the show.
"OH NO! IGNORANT POMMY WEATHER GIRL CALLS ME A ‘CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER'," he said sharing one article on the interview.
In the since-deleted post, the MP said Tobin "might want to educate herself" about Australia's spending on renewable energy and weather patterns.
Tobin herself took to Twitter seemingly in response to the post using the #NotAWeatherGirl and #IKnowWhatI'mTalkingAbout to confirm that she was in fact a meteorologist.
"A degree in physics and meteorology, 4 years as an aviation forecaster at the RAD, 12 years a broadcast meteorologist, attended a WMO Climate course last year and up to date all the science," she listed.
In another post on Facebook, Kelly also accused Morgan of not wanting to "hear the facts".
"He clearly had no idea that Australia is a federation with the States having responsibility for emergency management," he wrote.
"He had no idea about Australia’s long history of bushfires. He had no idea about the debate on hazard reduction burns, or the issue of fuel build up in our forests."