Culture

President Obama Shirtfronts Tony Abbott, Asks Young Australians to Step Up and Take Action on Climate Change

See also: misogyny, homophobia and religious discrimination.

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You know when your dad’s been away for a while and he lays into you about not taking the rubbish out while he was gone? He says he’s not mad, just a little disappointed, then goes into an inspiring speech about how we all have to do our part around the house. That’s essentially what just happened to our entire country. President Obama has only been in Australia for a matter of hours and he’s already incited people to take action on climate change.

Speaking at the University of Queensland prior to the official commencement of the G20 Summit in Brisbane today, Obama delivered his trademark oratory fireworks to a large crowd mostly comprised of local students. Though his speech spanned the gargantuan topics of foreign policy, social discrimination, international diplomacy and of course, climate change, he kicked things off with some jokes.

Though XXXX Gold were understandably jumping for joy and getting photoshop at the ready, the rest of the nation was not so thrilled.

Regardless, it took the President just 20 minutes to get to the topic on everyone’s minds: climate change. And when he did, the entire room broke into applause. “Here in the Asia Pacific, nobody has more at stake when it comes to thinking about and then acting on climate change,” he said. “Here in Australia, it means longer droughts, more wildfires… The incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened.”

After acknowledging that there has been some “healthy debate” on the topic in our country, he stated that “leaders must be held accountable”. “Combating climate change cannot be the work of governments alone,” he said. “You have to keep raising your voices, because you deserve to live your lives in a world that is cleaner and that is healthier and that is sustainable … That’s not going to happen unless you are heard.”

He then announced he was going to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help developing nations deal with climate change, dropped the mike and moonwalked off the stage.

Except, no, it didn’t even stop there. He then went on to talk about broader issues of social inequality, religious freedom and human rights. “We’ll stand up for our gay and lesbian fellow citizens because they need to be treated equally under the law,” he said. “We’ll stand up for the rights and futures of our wives and daughters … because I believe that the best measure of whether a nation is going to be successful is whether they are tapping the talents of their women and treating them as full participants in politics and society and the economy.”

Stunned to be in the presence of a politician who had a semblance of a coherent idea and a general sense of moral decency, the entire audience rose to their feet in rapturous applause and convulsive fits of pleasure. Obama was then whisked away to the official start of the G20 Summit like a goddamned rock star.

And what of our fearless leader, you may ask? He spent the morning rambling about Medicare and getting outclassed by a guy with rubber ear extensions. Soz Tone.

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Watch the full speech here.