Politics

The Agriculture Minister “Doesn’t Give A Rat’s” If Climate Change Is Man-Made, So That’s Cool

David Littleproud's answer drew gasps from the Q&A audience.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud copped an earful from a fired-up Q&A audience last night over his pissweak position on environmental protection and climate change.

Littleproud appeared on the ABC panel show that was recorded in Lismore, NSW, and had a strong focus on rural issues and the challenges being faced by Australian farmers.

But the Nationals MP didn’t do himself any favours with the crowd when replying to a question about how to combat the effects of the drought and future proof the agriculture sector.

“My predecessor Barnaby Joyce created a national water infrastructure fund,” Littleproud said. “$2.5 billion to build water resources, to be able to irrigate and have reliability of water. Unfortunately every time we go to build something, the state finds a reason not to and finds some frog that wouldn’t like the temperature of the dam or a butterfly that may not like it.”

At that point Littleproud was cut off by boos from the audience… but he wasn’t finished.

“I’m sorry, but you’ve got to make a decision … do you want an agricultural sector or do you want to live Kumbaya?”

But if you thought that was bad, just wait to you hear his response to a question about climate change put to him by a farmer from Bentley.

“Every day we see the impacts of climate destabilisation,” she told the panel. “Unpredictable weather events threaten our ability to grow food for Australia and the rest of the world. So my question is, don’t we need to ignore the fossil fuel donors and the lobbyists and have a good bipartisan policy to reduce emissions, encourage the uptake of renewable energies and protect our ability to grow the nation’s food?”

Host Tony Jones then asked Littleproud whether he accepted the premise that “man-made climate change is causing droughts like the one we’re seeing now?”

“That’s a big call,” the minister responded, generating a wave of laughter from the audience. “The reality is I don’t give a rat’s if it’s man-made or not,” he continued, as the laughs turned to jeers of disbelief.

“If we move to renewables for a healthier environment and to breathe better air, that’s great. Let’s do it. But let’s do it in a responsible way that we can all afford. But we can’t do it at the moment. We have to be able to turn the lights on, turn the pumps on … I talk to pensioners and it’s bloody cold in Warwick at the moment. Bloody cold. They can’t afford to put the heater on.”