Barnes was seated next to Nicolle Flint, the member for Boothby, for the episode with the pair often going head-to-head and leaving the rest of the panel watching on.
The South Australian MP and Barnes, who grew up in Adelaide, first kicked off when the conversation turned to renewable energy.
South Australia is the world leader in Australian integration of renewables.
Ms Flint also addressed the government’s participation in the Paris Agreement to lower carbon emissions and promised the government would meet its targets.
“As the prime minister and the (Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor) often say as well, we’re technology agnostic,” she said.
“When people come to us with proposals, we’re going to have a look at them. The critical thing is that we have reliability and affordability. So, reliability in the system, so we do not ever have the situation that we had in South Australia.”
Ms Flint was referring to the South Australian blackout from 2016 when almost the entire state lost its electricity supply.
“(It was) one of the scariest experiences of my life, getting home and making sure my staff got home and family got home safely that day…. It was a miracle nobody was killed….This is the impact of losing the reliability of your power supply. There are real human risks and human costs,” she said.
But then Barnes cut in, reminding the South Australian MP the effects of climate change were to blame, leaving the Member for Boothby looking miserable.
“Wasn’t there also, like, the fact that this was caused by extreme weather?”
“Exactly,” Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon added, laughing and clapping his hands in agreement.
As the audience erupted into applause, Barnes continued.
“Has that come into consideration here? What are you talking about? I don’t understand this argument at all,” he said.
“Jimmy to be fair, we have extreme weather around Australia. We have cyclones, all sorts of…” Ms Flint responded.
“Yeah and it’s getting worse,” Barnes clapped back.
“You’ve gotta work it out mate, when it isn’t the weather’s fault, it’s the Labor Party’s fault — always,” Mr Fitzgibbon told Barnes.
As the audience continued to laugh and clap, Q&A host Tony Jones worked hard to bring the panel back under control.
“Jimmy, you’re turning this into like a great sort of dinner party,” Jones said.
“It’s like me saying, ‘I am just going to make one or two singles because I will do what I have to do to meet my requirements’. You do the best job you can. That’s what you’ve gotta do,” Barnes said.
“Alright I have to impose a certain amount of order because we’ve gotta hear some more questions,” Jones said, before continuing the show.
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) June 3, 2019
Barnes and Ms Flint also went head-to-head on a discussion about Safe Schools and LGBTQI bullying in South Australia.
A questioner named Jack Atherton, who used to live in Ms Flint’s electorate of Boothby, spoke of his experience with homophobia in Adelaide.
“Hey Nicolle Flint. I grew up in your electorate and used to dream of moving away. Then I did. Growing up I experienced hectic homophobia which is entrenched in a lot of adults and community,” Mr Atherton said.
“When you’re in school, homophobia is intense with kids. You get teachers as well. But even local business owners in Boothby that I know of have tried to get people fired for being gay. It isn’t talken (sic) about. It is just there. It is my experience.”
Before Ms Flint could answer, Barnes cut in.
“I thought that program Safe Schools was a really good start to that and I couldn’t understand why that was being cut. Where there was so many young kids struggling with their sexuality and just their position in life in general and to cut funding to that seemed like an odd choice to me,” Barnes said.
Ms Flint mirrored Barnes’ comments and said treating people with respect was “the point”.
“It should be no matter what your background, no matter your sexuality, no matter your religion. Whatever it is, treat people with respect. Let’s get rid of bullying and we need to do a lot more work in that area…” she said.
“But did you think Safe Schools thing was a good project? I thought it was,” Barnes said, cutting Ms Flint off and cheekily giving the MP a nudge.
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) June 3, 2019
The singer’s playful debating on the show had social media and even the other panellists singing his praises.
“I’m Team Jimmy,” author Sisonke Msimang said.
Social media was also abuzz with support for Barnes.
Nicole Flint: “Lets get rid of bullying and have respect and hold hands”
Jimmy Barnes: “That’s what safe schools was all about”
Nicole Flint: 😑😑😑😡😡😡#qanda
— Paul Gee (@paulygoo) June 3, 2019
Jimmy Barnes should be on #qanda as a resident truth-o-meter more often, regularly even.
— mountain ash (@mountainash04) June 3, 2019