Malcolm Turnbull lashes climate deniers, taking a dig at political rivals for being ‘friends’ with conspiracy theorists

Helena BurkeNCA NewsWire
Malcolm Turnbull urged the Morrison government to rein in its own conspiracy theorist MPs, insisting Australia was now running out of time to avoid a climate catastrophe.
Camera IconMalcolm Turnbull urged the Morrison government to rein in its own conspiracy theorist MPs, insisting Australia was now running out of time to avoid a climate catastrophe. Credit: ABC

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has unleashed a vicious spray on Australia’s climate change deniers, labelling the conspiracy theorists as “crackers” and “mad”.

Speaking at the Australian National University on Wednesday, Mr Turnbull warned that controversial viewpoints were no longer a punchline, insisting those who denied the environmental impacts of fossil fuels now held real power over Australia’s future.

“There used to be a time where we would say 17 per cent of people believe the world is flat, Elvis is still alive, and martians are present and living among us,” he said.

“And you‘d sort of shrug that off as being mildly amusing.”

“But when you have people disbelieving facts … you have, not eccentric points of view, but positions that have real consequences.”

The former PM then turned his attention to his political rivals, taking a subtle dig at John Howard and Tony Abbott as he recounted “an example of craziness” about climate change.

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Malcolm Turnbull warned that ‘crackers’ conspiracy theorists now held a dangerous power over Australia’s future.
Camera IconMalcolm Turnbull warned that ‘crackers’ conspiracy theorists now held a dangerous power over Australia’s future. Credit: News Regional Media

Mr Turnbull said he had tried to convince prominent conspiracy theorist and Sydney businessman Maurice Newman that climate change was real, but Mr Newman was too insane to listen.

“I was spending some time with Maurice Newman – a good friend of John Howard‘s and Tony Abbott’s,” he said.

“I said to Maurice: ‘what if I asked one of our top climate scientists to summarise in one page, what the key (climate) points are, basically an exposition of atmospheric physics’.”

But when Mr Turnbull presented the evidence of global warming to Mr Newman, he said the powerful businessman responded with a rant claiming Australia’s universities, media, and government organisations were all in on the same evil conspiracy about fake climate change.

“It sounds crackers, but we are dealing in an age where there is a lot of madness about,” Mr Turnbull said.

Tony Abbott
Camera IconMr Turnbull described prominent climate-denier Maurice Newman as a friend of Tony Abbott’s and ‘an example of craziness’. Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Turnbull urged the Morrison government to rein in its own conspiracy theorist MPs, insisting Australia was now running out of time to avoid a climate catastrophe.

“We’ve been caught by this poisonous political Troika that has bedevilled climate policy in Australia for so long,” he said.

“We‘ve got a long term problem, but we don’t have a lot of time to address it.

“We’ve got to get cracking between now and 2030.”

Originally published as Malcolm Turnbull lashes climate deniers, taking a dig at political rivals for being ‘friends’ with conspiracy theorists

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