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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Conservative premier stumbles on climate change question

O'Farrell yesterday.
The tropical weather that has been meandering down the east coast of Australia and dumping rain on communities from central Queensland to the NSW central coast has another casualty - the credibility of conservative state premiers. Last night NSW premier Barry O'Farrell was constrained to wrap up a press conference on the flood situation with a snarl at a journalist who took the liberty of linking the extreme weather with climate change.
"If the question is about climate change go and ask me another day," Barry O'Farrell said.
"Let's not turn this near-disaster, this episode that has damaged so many properties and other things, into some politically correct debate about climate change. Give me a break."
Unfortunately, the weather is not giving residents of small towns like Bundaberg and Grafton a break.

Queensland residents are far more aware of how the weather is changing than their cousins south of the border. In 2011, Brisbane was flooded along with extensive tracts of land dotted with townships up along the Lockyer Valley. That was supposed to be a 1-in-100-year event but it's two years on and the same thing is happening again. But don't expect the state premier, Campbell Newman, another conservative, to start blaming climate change. Conservatives are flailing about like inflatable tube dolls in the face of this summer's weather, which is just making them look out of touch and stupid. O'Farrell's aggrieved rejoinder to the eminently intelligent question from the journalist yesterday just shows how out of touch governments can be in the age of the New Normal. Get with the program, O'Farrell!

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