Senior members of the Nationals on Monday accused the Greens of exacerbating fire risk by opposing some back-burning and hazard-reduction measures.
“I acknowledge that the two people who died were most likely people who voted for the Green party so I am not going to start attacking them, that’s the last thing I want to do,” the former Nationals leader said on Sky News.
“What I wish [Greens MP Adam] Bandt would do is not try to extend this argument to political purposes … to make these spurious links, that a policy change would have stopped the fires is so insulting and just completely beyond the pale.
“To say that a policy that is conducted in Australia from a room in Canberra, where 76 out of 150 will vote for it, will change the bushfire season is an absurdity and erroneous and it is completely misleading because it’s going to have no effect on the climate whatsoever.”
Labor senator Kristina Keneally criticised Mr Joyce for raising victims’ supposed voting intentions.
“How does he know who they voted for and why does it matter? They’re dead, they died in a bushfire. Isn’t that enough?”
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack on Monday said the Greens were “inner-city raving lunatics” for discussing climate change as fires spread across the state.
“We’ve had fires in Australia since time began, and what people need now is a little bit of sympathy, understanding and real assistance – they need help, they need shelter,” the Nationals leader told ABC Radio National when asked about climate change.
“They don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time, when they’re trying to save their homes, when in fact they’re going out in many cases saving other peoples’ homes and leaving their own homes at risk.”
More to come
Max is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.