Labor Senator Penny Wong Slammed For Her “Seriously Disappointing” Comments About Coal
Scott Morrison has alienated our Pacific neighbours with his refusal to divest from coal. But it turns out Labor would have done the same.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has come in for a wave of criticism over his behaviour at the Pacific Island Forum in Tuvalu last week. But on the plus side, it turns out Labor wouldn’t have been that much better.
Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama accused Morrison of being “very insulting and condescending”, while New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern said Australia would have to “answer to the Pacific” on the issue of climate change, after Australia watered down calls for climate action in an official communique, and refused to back calls from low-lying Pacific nations to rapidly scale back global reliance on coal.
It was a callous, shameful display from the government, and seemed like a perfect opportunity for the other lot to take a stand.
Enter Labor Senator Penny Wong.
Wong hit out at Morrison on Saturday, saying his “arrogance has done great damage to our relationships and Australia’s standing in the region,” she said. “He’s undermined the Pacific step-up and alienated our friends … It’s no way to treat our neighbours. At a time when we need closer engagement with our region, Australia’s PM has diminished our influence.”
Sounds pretty good, right? But on Sunday, Wong went on ABC’s Insiders and conceded that Labor wouldn’t have signed up to the plan to ditch coal either.
“Coal is an important industry to Australia,” she said.
Asked by host Patricia Karvelas whether Labor would have signed up to “shutting [coal] down”, Wong replied, “of course not”.
Wong’s poor imitation of an opposition senator did not go down particularly well with folks on social media. Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi tweeted that the comments were “seriously disappointing”, a sentiment that was echoed across the platform.
Seriously disapointing… We can keep burning coal or we can have a liveable planet. Not both. Climate breakdown is happening and ALP won’t take a stand. https://t.co/uH4YeCr4uS
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) August 18, 2019
There has never been a time in my life when we have needed Labor to be more brave, strong and decisive than now.
There has also never been a time when I have seen Labor so cowardly, weak and directionless. https://t.co/R3u3ZiZWrs
— 💧Richard O’Brien (@RichardAOB) August 18, 2019
ah, the alternative government https://t.co/vc51pWLQAw
— george calombaris belongs in prison (@macaulaybalkan) August 18, 2019
sHe’D bE SucH a gOoD FOrEiGn mINiSteR https://t.co/tiplrjazOP
— Jason Heeris & 1247 others (@detly) August 18, 2019
“slave labour remains an important industry for British Colonies” – The same argument 3 centuries ago. https://t.co/Pm7k7733pO
— Biggles (@Taco_Lad) August 18, 2019
ffs – not surprised, not even disappointed, just tired https://t.co/ClLoBE2LzG
— F Onthemoon (@firstdogonmoon) August 18, 2019
price is right losing horn https://t.co/rziPAOCiR4
— Bitchy and Defiant to the Bitter End (@Wally_Wests) August 18, 2019
— dejan (@heyDejan) August 19, 2019