Peter Dutton – Australia’s Immigration Minister – was found making a poor joke concerning climate change when he did not notice a boom mike overhead during a meeting in Parliament House. The gathering concerned the recent decision to take in 12,000 Syrian refugees and the funds to aid these people.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison, and Mr. Dutton were waiting for the late meeting to begin when Dutton commented that they must be running on “Cape York Time”. Mr. Abbott responded, “We had a bit of that up in Port Moresby,” which led to Dutton replying, “Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to have water lapping at your door,” which got a chuckle out of the Prime Minister. This comment referring to Abbott’s previous day forum with Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand concerning climate change and the steps these two nations are taking to remedy the major issue. Morrison then informs the two of the looming microphone broadcasting their entire conversation.
The issue with this bad joke stems from the lowering of carbon emissions and the 2020 targets set last month by the Abbott government. These targets are being based from numbers in 2005, which was a considerably high year for emissions in Australia. Numbers show that by changing the base year from 2000 to 2005 it will make the projected targets parallel to Canada and the United States.
Larissa Waters – environmental spokeswoman from the Australian Green Party – said, “[These are] incredibly weak climate pollution targets from an incredibly weak Prime Minister, who is in absolute denial about the science.” She continued on by saying, “When you look at the baseline year that the Prime Minister has adopted, he’s trying to squib the figures, he is changing the goal posts and using 2005 as a baseline year when almost the rest of the world is using the year 2000.”
With facts like these it does little to alleviate the awkwardness or exceptional lack of humor from distasteful jokes made by individuals in sets of immense political power. When these people chuckle at awful remarks, which concern issues that can make or break the future of humanity, it sheds a horrible light on who we place our trust in and whether we should even trust them. Mr. Dutton, leave the comedy to people who make it their livelihood and get back to working for us.